COVID19 Pandemic: The Mental Health of Colored Chicks

chicks

(Michael Anfang, Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Duanie A. Moran, a sixth year medical student at the National Autonomous University of Honduras. She is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.


Don’t colored chicks look adorable? The ugly side to colored chicks is that they often die young because of the dyes they are exposed to. That´s what it feels like to be a healthcare worker right now. “Heroes without a cape”.  They are also heroes expected to save lives without the proper personal protective equipment(PPE), carrying along the justified accompanying anxiety.

In the times of COVID-19, mental health without a doubt is a prevalent social issue. However, there is one population whose mental health we often neglect: our healthcare workforce. Studies have consistently found doctors and other healthcare workers to be prone to have mental health issues. Right now, we’re taking that very same population and placing it at the receiving end of a loaded gun.

Now, the important question is: What can we, individually, do to lessen the burden on our medical professionals? Let’s start with the more obvious. Do what you can to avoid overloading the health systems by not making unnecessary visits, taking your medication on time every day, and generally taking care of yourself. Also, let’s make sure we aren’t sending our best soldiers to war with water pistols. Support your heroes getting adequate PPE by donating funds. One of the fundraising initiatives where your contributions will make the biggest impact is the WHO COVID-19 Response Fund.

If you are more hands-on, you can start or join campaigns pressuring government to give hazard pay. Healthcare workers in the frontlines are disproportionately vulnerable to infection. For example, in Spain, about 14% of the confirmed cases of coronavirus are medical professionals. In the center of Italy’s outbreak, around 15% of doctors and nurses have been infected. (1) Across the ocean, in Honduras doctors closed down an OB-GYN emergency ward due to a large number of suspected COVID-19 cases among medical staff. Many of these people are the sole providers for their households. It is only fair that these families have a safety net.

Last but not least, most of us know at least one doctor, one nurse, one lab technician. Take a few minutes to call them, send them an encouraging text, or send them a warm meal. Basically, be a good friend and make sure they are okay. It may sound small, but it makes a world of a difference.

I know this is a time when many of us may feel disenfranchised by a feeling of impotence. However, this is one issue we can make a difference in. Let’s turn this pandemic into a time to feel empowered by taking action.

Bibliography

  1. Minder R, Peltier E. Virus Knocks Thousands of Health Workers Out of Action in Europe. The New York Times [Internet]. 2020 Mar 24 [cited 2020 Apr 26]; Available from: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/24/world/europe/coronavirus-europe-covid-19.html

About the author

Duanie A. Moran is a sixth year medical student at the National Autonomous University of Honduras. As a member of the International Federation of Medical Student Associations and Rotaract she has confirmed a passion for both the scientific and human aspects of medicine. She strives to dedicate her life to eliminating infectious diseases in developing countries.

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