Pandemic and mental health: what to do in this context?

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This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Gabriella Gomar, a second year medical student at Faculdades Pequeno Príncipe in Curitiba, Brazil. 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.


Now a days, with the Coronavirus pandemic and the number of deaths because of it (that now is above 180 thousand), is dificult to maintain the mental health. Infectious diseases have an immense influence on mental health, because the population is often thinking about it and it’s consequences. A lot of people are developing psychological problems, such as anxiety, fear, depression, distress and insomnia. And that is why people need to calm down and do things to lessen the burden, although this is not a simple work.

The activities in grand part of the world are being developted online. Therapy and psychological sessions should happening online by platforms of comunication as well, because some people really need mental support, specially in this conditions. Therefore, local governments should develop psychological interventions to help the population to reassure and continue living as good as possible, within the situation we are all going through. Besides that, it is essential that people do not stay all day lying or sitting wearing pijamas, because their mind needs to understand that the individual is awake. Read books (and not just the noticiary), study, cook, clean the house, develop awareness campaings, spend time with family, take care of yourself and separe things for donation. These are simple actions that could be done to help when isolating. Moreover, it is better than staying at bed all day during this time.

Physical exercise is relevant in this pandemic context for all ages, because it maintains the individual’s body active, help muscles and increase blood circulation. Also reduce high blood pressure, can help to lose weight and reduce the risk of heart diseases, stroke, diabetes, and cancers – conditions that normally increase susceptibility to COVID-19. Exercising is very important for mental helth, because can reduce the level of depression, cognitive decline and improve overall feelings. Even who is not into exercising regularly, should use this time to discover which exercises like to practice it during the isolation time. For these and more reasons, the World Health Organization (WHO) reccomends imensly that people practice physical exercise.

In this pandemic, children of all ages could express irritability and anger. What can parents do in this situation? They should be honest with their children, explaining the situation in a way that they can understand. Parents can use ludic and creative activities to help them in expressing themselves and have something to do. They also should be model for their children, and that is one more reason for them to manage their own stressors. The socio-economic aspect can influence on mental health of people, therefore the goverment of various countries can help their population with food and health condition, and this will influence on mental health too. In this pandemic, it is essential that population recognizes the importance of mental health for everybody, studying about and valuing it. This come together with having empaty, helping others too.

Sources

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/32202646

https://covid19.who.int/

https://www.who.int/news-room/campaigns/connecting-the-world-to-combat-coronavirus/healthyathome/healthyathome—physical-activity

http://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/health-emergencies/coronavirus-covid-19/news/news/2020/3/mental-health-and-psychological-resilience-during-the-covid-19-pandemic

About the author

Gabriella Gomar is a second year medical student at Faculdades Pequeno Príncipe in Curitiba, and member of the local Standing Committee on Human Rights and Peace (SCORP) of IFMSA Brazil. She is interested in discovering more about the COVID-19, and also in undestanding people’s mind in this cenary. Now a days, she has classes at home and continues doing scientifical researches, reading articles and the worldwide news. She hopes Brazil and all the world get over this soon, and believes on scientific community studies. Personally, she is helping people as she can, with her knowledge and possibilities.

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