COVID-19: Mental balance in pandemic times

pandemic mental

(Jonathan Rados, Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Jade Lingiardi Altoé, a second-year medical student. Affiliated to IFMSA Brazil UniCesumar, and member of the Academic League of Family and Community Medicine (LAMFaC). 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.

The COVID-19 pandemic, caused by the new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), is a mental health crisis as well as a physical one. This relationship can be understood based on theories of impact and physiological reaction of fight or flight of the organism, in which changes in the environment subjectively influence how people react and decide situations. Thus, a pandemic, as a stressor, changes as applicable relationships in society and requires adaptation of mental health. But how to have balanced mental health in chaotic times?

Even though it is a way to prevent and reduce the harm caused by viruses, social isolation can cause depressive, anxious impacts, regret, sleep disturbances, fear of being infected (can cause phobias and panic), use of harmful substances, and suicide. Such psychic disorders affect individuals and their social, family and economic relationships, requiring clarifying possible ways to avoid them.

Governments and health professionals are essential to minimize them with immediate actions. Clear and objective communication on: what happens, facing the prospects for the duration of restrictive measures, highlighting isolation as an act of altruism, the importance of physical and mental health care, and the psychological supports adopted. Creation of a protocol to guide the performance of health networks in the area of ​​mental health in times of crisis, and adoption of new technologies to provide diagnostic and therapeutic services, like video-conferencing psychotherapy and tele-mental health.


However, effective actions to cultivate balanced physical and mental health depends on each individual. Maintaining a healthy diet, exercising, and sleeping well are very important, including improving immunity. Conduct practices to calm yourself like mindfulness, yoga, and meditation. Reading and learning allows you to divert attention and occupy your mind. As a family, it is a good time to strengthen ties and appreciate the company, enjoying movies, series, games, and music. Professionally, adjust work activities to the situation, whether with home office, delivery, or e-commerce.


The internet and social media can help these activities and maintain relationships, since dialogue and interaction are fundamental in these periods of crisis. After all, physical distance, not social distance is necessary. Many institutions have provided online access to courses, videos, books, films. Digital platforms offer ways to operationalize business models that reduce physical contact. However, they must be handled properly, avoiding false and disparaging news that encourages such disorders. Turning off the news, when necessary, can lighten that burden.

Crisis makes it possible to question oneself and socially and scientifically established models and practices. It is a complex and challenging process, which leads to evolution. They require each individual to reflect and reframe their understanding as a social being, and thus reinvent themselves and their surroundings.

Anyway, what most reflects on mental health is the individuals’ unique emotional structure. Although reactions to stressors are involuntary, decisions made from them can be resilient. Therefore, there is no standard to be followed to achieve mental balance. It is up to each one to find their personal limits and the humanly possible way of dealing with this situation.


  1. Altena E, Baglioni C, Espie CA, Ellis J, Gavriloff D, Holzinger B, Schlarb A, Frase L, Jernelov S, Riemann D. Dealing with sleep problems during home confinement due to the COVID‐19 outbreak: practical recommendations from a task force of the European CBT‐I Academy. Journal of Sleep Research. April 04 2020. doi:10.1111/jsr.13052
  2. Kelly BD. Covid-19 (Coronavirus): Challenges for Psychiatry. The British Journal of Psychiatry. Cambridge University Press; 2020;:1–6.
  3. Levin A. COVID-19: Psychiatrists in Battle Mode to Help Patients, Public During Crisis. American Journal of Psychiatry. Published online March 25, 2020. doi: 10.1176/
  4. Reger MA, Stanley IH, Joiner TE. Suicide Mortality and Coronavirus Disease 2019—A Perfect Storm? JAMA Psychiatry. Published online April 10, 2020. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2020.1060
  5. Silva AG, Miranda DM, Diaz PA, Teles ANS, Fernandes MD, Palha AP. Mental Health: why it still matters in the midst of a pandemic. Brazilian Journal of Psychiatry. 2020. doi: 10.1590/1516-4446-2020-0009.
  6. Xiang Y, Jin Y, Cheung T. Joint International Collaboration to Combat Mental Health Challenges During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Pandemic. JAMA Psychiatry. Published online April 10, 2020. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2020.1057
  7. Wind TR, Rijkeboer M, Andersson G, Riper H. The COVID-19 pandemic: The ‘black swan’ for mental health care and turning point for e-health. Elsevier Mar 2020. 20.

About the author

Jade Lingiardi Altoé is a second-year medical student. Affiliated to IFMSA Brazil UniCesumar, and member of the Academic League of Family and Community Medicine (LAMFaC). Marcelle Lupi Gasparini, 18 years old, is a second-year medical student. Member of the Academic League of Mental Health of Unicesumar (LASMUC). Both perceive the importance of discussions about mental health and its great impact on society, especially in the training of qualified and human health professionals, capable of assessing the human being in its entirety. They believe that resilience is a way to overcome mental discomfort, and to lead a lighter life.




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

UNICEF urges all countries to provide ‘Super Dads’ with paid leave

EP stands up for democracy in Hungary during COVID-19

6 ways to drive funding to transform the fashion industry

Commission supports reform projects in Member States for more jobs and sustainable growth

Scientists studied microbes feeding on Antarctica’s first methane leak – here’s what they found

Bridging the gap: Health through technology

‘Forgotten’ pneumonia epidemic kills more children than any other disease

Is the energy industry meeting its sustainability goals?

Commission concludes that an Excessive Deficit Procedure is no longer warranted for Italy at this stage

Confidence in the COVID-19 vaccine grows in UK and US, but global concerns about side effects are on the rise

Mobile health: The future of global healthcare

Six children among 53 confirmed fatalities after Libya detention centre airstrikes: Security Council condemns attack

Why practicing medicine privately at home is still a (difficult) option?

Afghanistan probe: ‘at least 60 civilians’ killed after US military airstrikes on alleged drug labs

VP McGuinness on women’s rights: “Not an option, but a duty”

Humanitarian migration falls while labour and family migration rises

What can we do about the crisis in trust in public institutions?

6 things to know about the General Assembly as UN heads into high level week

End Syria fighting to avoid ‘even greater humanitarian catastrophe’

Egypt urged to free prominent couple jailed arbitrarily since last June: UN rights office

Recovering from COVID-19: these are the risks to anticipate now – before it’s too late

The needs, challenges and power dynamics of refugee resettlement

COVID-19 and nature are linked. So should be the recovery.

Spending another 3 billion euros on Turkey feels better than admitting EU’s failure

G20 LIVE: The European Sting covers online world news and the latest developments at G20 from Antalya Turkey

Eurozone: Retail sales and inflation point to recession

Access and hesitancy as major challenges surrounding covid-19 vaccination campaigns

North-east Nigeria displacement crisis continues amid ‘increased sophistication’ of attackers, warns UN

Exchanges of medical students and the true understanding of global health issues

What will education look like in 20 years? Here are 4 scenarios

Balancing economic growth and the environment: lessons from Brazil

7 skills every leader needs in times of disruption

World’s most powerful tidal turbine pumps out greener electricity in Scotland

Cyclone Idai: UNICEF warns of ‘race against time’ to protect children, prevent spread of disease in flood-ravaged Mozambique

African cooperation on peace ‘increasingly strong’, Security Council told

Western Sahara: a ‘peaceful solution’ to conflict is possible, says UN envoy

Palliative care and Universal Health Care

Brexit: Britain and the Continent fighting the battle of Waterloo again

How the ‘California effect’ could shape a global approach to ethical AI

3.7 million lives could be saved by 2025 if health services ramp up nutrition actions: WHO

Brexit kick-off: a historic day for the EU anticlockwise

State aid: Commission approves Greek public funding for construction and operation of North section of E65 motorway

Asylum: MEPs call for more solidarity among EU member states

Iraq: Education access still a challenge in former ISIL-controlled areas

It’s time to end our ‘separate but unequal’ approach to mental health

Long-term EU budget: The Union’s ambitions must be matched with sufficient reliable funding

How cities can become more resilient to climate change

SDG progress ‘in danger’ of going backwards without change in direction, new UN report reveals

South Africa’s economy in 5 charts

Terrorist content online: companies to be given just one hour to remove it

Anti-vaccination scaremongering: What should we know about anti-vaccine argument?

Why cities hold the key to safe, orderly migration

UN welcomes ‘most comprehensive agreement ever’ on global health

Remembering Kofi Annan

EU-US ties to break over Iran; Democrats’ electoral win may not change it

MEPs demand unprecedented support measures for EU firms and workers

New UN bullying report calls for ‘safe, inclusive’ schools for all children

UN chief ‘following very closely’ reports of chemical weapons use in Syria’s Aleppo

Greece @ MWC14: Greek-born mobile champions at MWC 2014

UN rights chief Bachelet appeals for dialogue in Sudan amid reports ‘70 killed’ in demonstrations

More Stings?


  1. […] COVID-19: Mental balance in pandemic times  The European Sting ” “covid-19″ when:1h” – Google News […]

  2. […] COVID-19: Mental balance in pandemic times – The European Sting […]

Speak your Mind Here

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

You are commenting using your 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