Mental health: fighting the hidden pandemic

depressed 2021

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Fatima Elbasri Abuelgasim Mohammed, a 20 years old 3rd year medical student from Sudan, at Khartoum University. 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.


Caring about Mental Health is extremely important to ensure that every individual lives in a moderate status of wellbeing. During the COVID-19 pandemic, most people live in constant panic which lead to significant decrease in mental health status worldwide, keeping in mind that most people pay their attention to COVID-19 forgetting about the deteriorating mental health status leading to the appearance of “a hidden pandemic”.

Mental health problems conquer most of our community nowadays. In Europe almost 165 million people or 38 percent of the population suffer each year from a brain disorder.In most developing countries there is a lack of knowledge among community members regarding mental health, actually some of them don’t believe in its existence at all relating it to irrelevant causes like “madness,religion and being possessed by a devil”. For example, in Africa there are 1·4 mental health workers per 100,000 people, compared with a global average of 9·0 per 100,000, and also performs relatively poorly with regard to the number of psychiatrists, the number of hospital beds for patients with mental illness, and the coverage of outpatient facilities.

Never forgetting to mention that many mental health patients are stigmatized in their communities and labeled as a shame.Can you picture what will happen in a community which suffers already from high rates of mental disorders and in another community where mental health is not recognized in the first place! Definitely there will be a huge increase in the incidence of depression,anxiety,suicidal attempts and drug addiction , I will leave the rest to your imagination to picture the size of this crisis.

As a current medical students and a future public health provider who believes in the magic of words and their main contribution in change, one of the fundamental solutions is to increase awareness among different communities regarding How to cope with the stress and common mental health disorders in pandemics specially those associated with social distancing and quarantine through multimedia and different social media platforms. Another important action is Fighting infomedics to decrease panic and prevent rumors.

Also, Working on research to understand the effect of COVID-19 on mental health will be of great benefit during this time to reflect the scope of the problem more. We advise everyone at quarantine to take breaks from the news because knowing too much about the pandemic can be upsetting and try to connect with people they love and trust. Lastly, we have to help the white army in this war against the pandemic by staying home and being strict to all preventive measures toward COVID-19.

In conclusion, mental health issues increase significantly during pandemics affecting most of the people, taking care about your mental health is a milestone to fight COVID-19. And all of us are required to participate in the global movement to raise awareness about the situation.

Stay Home and take care of your beautiful minds.

Resources

https://mobile.reuters.com/article/amp/idUSTRE7832JJ20110904

https://www.thelancet.com/journals/langlo/article/PIIS2214-109X(18)30303-6/fulltext

About the author

Fatima Elbasri Abuelgasim Mohammed is a 20 years old 3rd year medical student from Sudan, at Khartoum University. She is a National Project Coordinator for NTDs at MedSIN Sudan 2019-2020, an LPO at KMSA “Khartoum Medical Students Association” 2019-2020 and a trainer at IFMSA.

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