Guarantee of mental health’s stability in times of pandemic

mental health_

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Giulia Carvalhal de Almeida Cordeiro, a first-year medical student at the Federal University of Campina Grande, 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.


Throughout history, several epidemics and pandemics diseases have caused psychological effects in the affected population. A study showed that 70% of Hong Kong city people in the period of the SARS outbreak had symptoms of anxiety. However, psychological consequences of pandemics are often overestimated and neglected, increasing the burden of associated diseases.¹

The COVID-19 is a major health crisis affecting several nations. Coronavirus, identified in late 2019, is highly contagious, it’s incidence grows exponentially, and it was recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a pandemic. The application of strict quarantine worldwide has affected people’s lives. Therefore, it has led to a diversity of psychological disorders such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Pandemics make people more insecure and anxious in the face of the unknown. The large-scale survey study of mental health from the China population during the COVID-19 outbreak discovered that almost 35% of the participants experienced psychological distress.² Short-term psychological disorder, as PTSD, leads to a high risk of compulsive and self-harm behaviors and suicidal crisis. In Long-term this may lead to obsessive-compulsive disorder, separation anxiety, post-traumatic schizophrenia, and post-traumatic depression.³ Regarding the psychological consequences, it is necessary to take individual actions to lessen the burden of pandemics.

Despite the essential physical isolation of quarantine, it is urgent to maintain emotional contact with family and friends through the digital space, for example. A support network creates a sense of union, protection, and affection, decreasing the chances of feeling lonely and depressed. Also, more support needs to be paid to vulnerable groups to psychological distress, as elderly people, who frequently have pre-existing physical and mental disorders and have the highest mortality rate in the COVID-19.

It is crucial to have self-care of physical health. The individual must practice leisure activities, have an adequate quality of sleep, have a balanced diet, and perform constant physical exercises. In situations of pandemic and social isolation it is common to exalt the feeling of fear and stress. Thus, it is necessary to pay more attention to feelings and thoughts to monitor dysphoric mental states such as irritability and aggression. Symptoms of depression and anxiety should be reported to a healthcare professional for help and treatment.

Filter information during the pandemic period is essential. A Chinese research discovered that young people (between 18 and 30 years) tend to consume a large amount of information, which justifies the group’s vulnerability.4 Lack of information is also harmful, as it can spread false rumors and unfounded fears, which amplifies stigmas. Check the sources of information – prefer official organization, like the WHO – and filter the news to lessen the burden.

Pandemics are challenging and bring up fears and insecurities. Panic behaviors caused overestimation of sub tested drugs and overstock home supplies in several countries affected by Coronavirus. Anxiety, depression, and PTSD lead to a high risk of cardiovascular and neurologic disease-associated. Therefore, mental health care in times of pandemic is essential to guarantee the stability of the individual and the society.

References

  1. Tucci V, Moukaddam N, Meadows J, Shah S, Galwankar SC, Kapur GB. The forgotten plague: psychiatric manifestations of ebola, zika, and emerging infectious diseases. J Glob Infect Dis. 2017;9:151-6. [ Links ]
  2. Qiu J, Shen B, Zhao M, Wang Z, Xie B, Xu Y. A nationwide survey of psychological distress among Chinese people in the COVID-19 epidemic: implications and policy recommendations. Gen Psychiatr. 2020;33(2):e100213. Published 2020 Mar 6. doi:10.1136/gpsych-2020-100213
  3. Auxéméry Y. Post-traumatic psychiatric disorders: PTSD is not the only diagnosis. Presse Med. 2018;47(5):423–430. doi:10.1016/j.lpm.2017.12.006
  4. Cheng C, Jun H, Liang B. Psychological health diathesis assessment system: a nationwide survey of resilient trait scale for Chinese adults. Stud Psychol Behav 2014;12:735–42.

About the author

Giulia Carvalhal de Almeida Cordeiro is a first-year medical student at the Federal University of Campina Grande, Brazil. She worked with the International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations of Brazil (IFMSA – Brazil) as a Local Publications and Research Director. Among its areas of interest are genetics, endocrinology, and neurology. Also she enjoys ballet, 90’s music, cook, and science fiction stories.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Electronic or conventional cigarettes – which is safer?

Questions and Answers about Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

8 things we need to do to tackle humanitarian crises in 2019

Why do overwhelming proportions of EU’s youth feel excluded?

Relieving the suffering of dying: Home Palliative Care as a spiritual coping strategy

The “Colombo Declaration” adopted at the World Conference on Youth 2014

These are the top risks for doing business around the world

I cycled over 6,000km across the United States to document climate change. Here’s what I learned

Strengthening the EU’s autonomy – Commission seeks input on a new anti-coercion instrument

Here’s how innovation could help car companies hit by COVID-19

How has technology changed – and changed us – in the past 20 years?

How Japan and Singapore are reinventing old age

Workplace bullies could now go to jail in South Korea

Warmongers ready to chew what is left of social protection spending

Eurostat overturns Commission’s assessment of the economy

Declaring commitment to ‘peace and stability’ for Libya, top UN envoy steps down as stress takes its toll

November infringements package: key decisions

Why COVID-19 shows the future not the end of globalization

Fighting Terrorism Online: EU Internet Forum committed to an EU-wide Crisis Protocol

ICC Appeals Chamber acquits former Congolese Vice President Bemba from war crimes charges

Circular Plastics Alliance: 100+ signatories commit to use 10 million tons of recycled plastic in new products by 2025

Coronavirus: Commission proposes a Digital Green Certificate

Coronavirus update: COVID-19 likely to cost economy $1 trillion during 2020, says UN trade agency

Telemedicine: union when the rule is isolation

Dual food quality: Commission releases study on sensory differences in food products

How artificial intelligence is redefining the role of manager

Africa cannot afford to lose doctors to COVID-19

People talk less now than during the Cold War, says Merkel at Davos

COVID-19: latest on evaluation and authorisation of vaccines

Unequal burden: how the COVID-19 pandemic is adding to women’s workloads

4 ways to build resilience to digital risks in the COVID-19 era

Reforms in the Western Balkans and Turkey: annual assessments and recommendations

3 reasons why business leaders can’t afford to ignore diversity

MWC 2016 LIVE: Ingenu steps up efforts to build LPWA networks across the globe

Some endangered languages manage to thrive. Here’s how

A perfect storm is pushing children in sub-Saharan Africa into crisis

More than nine in ten children exposed to deadly air pollution

We have a chance to build the gender-equal workplaces of the future. Here’s how

5 ways to go green in your own kitchen

3 reasons why civil society is essential to COVID-19 recovery

Microplastics have spread right to the sea bed, study finds

90% of plastic polluting our oceans comes from just 10 rivers

‘Great cause of concern’ UN chief tells Security Council, surveying ‘bleak’ state of civilian protection

These Dutch microgrid communities can supply 90% of their energy needs

EU-Turkey relations are at a historic low point, say MEPs

To Brexit or not to Brexit: British exceptionalism doesn’t allow any Obama telling Brits what to do

Medical Devices Regulation: Commission welcomes Council support to prioritise the fight against coronavirus

Kellen Europe Hosts EuroConference 2016

Who cares about the unity of Ukraine?

‘Vaccines are safe’ and save lives, UNICEF declares, launching new #VaccinesWork campaign

UN updates guidelines to ensure successful return to civilian life for former combatants

Regional competitiveness and growth: a Gordian knot for Europe

Antitrust: Commission opens investigation into possible anti-competitive conduct of Amazon

EU reconfirms support for Afghanistan at 2020 Geneva Conference

Across Europe, people are struggling to make ends meet. We need a common response immediately.

Help prevent children ‘from becoming victims in the first place’, implores Guterres at campaign launch

OECD Secretary-General: coronavirus “war” demands joint action

Why the 21st century’s biggest health challenge is our shared responsibility

MWC 2016 LIVE: Freemium MVNO model a success, claims FreedomPop head

Why we all need farmers to have access to better seeds

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s