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 Milestone

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

Is Universal Health Coverage really available for all in the European Union?

Did young people just kill television?

CLIMATE CHANGE FOCUS: Cutting emissions, one bog at a time

COVID-19: research package welcomed, EU needs to be better equipped in future

South Sudan: UN condemns ‘brutal’ sexual assaults on roads to Bentiu

Brexit preparedness: EU completes preparations for possible “no-deal” scenario on 12 April

Dramatic drop in South Sudan political violence since peace agreement signing

Rohingya emergency one year on: UN says thousands of lives saved, but challenges remain

Conflict prevention, mediation: among ‘most important tools’ to reduce human suffering, Guterres tells Security Council

Mergers: Commission opens in-depth investigation into joint ventures proposed by Boeing and Embraer

Why people with disabilities are your company’s untapped resource

Why the Fourth Industrial Revolution needs more arts graduates

‘Every ventilator becomes like gold’ – a doctor’s stark warning from Italy’s Coronavirus outbreak

Sexual exploitation and abuse: latest UN quarterly update

Mobile technology saving lives: Changing healthcare systems with simple technological solutions

AI has huge potential – but it won’t solve all our problems

Parliament criticises Council’s rejection of money laundering blacklist

Here’s why the world’s recovery from COVID-19 could be doughnut shaped

Statement by President von der Leyen on CureVac

Eurozone: In vicious cycle of disinflation and unemployment?

Brexit: European Commission recommends the European Council (Article 50) to endorse the agreement reached on the revised Protocol on Ireland / Northern Ireland and revised Political Declaration

This Japanese experiment shows how easily coronavirus can spread – and what you can do about it

This is the first ever photo of a black hole

3 reasons why responsibly-deployed technology is key to the COVID recovery

How Google is fighting fire with real-time mapping data

What the next 20 years will mean for jobs – and how to prepare

VAT: EU Member States still losing almost €150 billion in revenues according to new figures

Privatization as a symptom of health inequity

UN chief appeals to G7 leaders for ‘strong commitment’ and political will to tackle climate emergency

Africa’s inspiring innovators show what the future could hold

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

FROM THE FIELD: Saving the tree kangaroos of Papua New Guinea

Member States agree to Commission proposal to support Irish beef producers impacted by market uncertainty

Capital Markets Union: Making it easier for insurers to invest in the real economy

Colombia is a Latin American success story, but must pursue new reforms to achieve stronger and more inclusive growth

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

The best and worst parenting advice I’ve heard, by a leading psychologist

EU and Airbus Member States take action to ensure full compliance in the WTO aircraft dispute

“BEUC cautions against TTIP that would seek to align EU and US chemicals management frameworks”

Why ‘video call fatigue’ might be making you tired during lockdown – and how to beat it

How fintech is making investment accessible

The most unlikely innovators are changing ICT for development – it’s time we took notice

Built by a woman: supporting the dreams of mum entrepreneurs

Why do US presidential elections last so long? And 4 other things you need to know

Is corporation tax good or bad for growth?

Some 300,000 Venezuelan children in Colombia need humanitarian assistance; UNICEF looks to boost response funding

An open letter to Europe’s leaders

The relation of deforestation and respiratory diseases

Link between conflict and hunger worldwide, ‘all too persistent and deadly’, says new UN report

This Central Asian lake is a stark reminder of the impact we have on the planet

EU prepares itself to fight back against hostile propaganda

We should treat data as a natural resource. Here’s why

EU to spend €6 billion on youth employment and training futile schemes

Facebook: MEPs demand a full audit by EU bodies to assess data protection

Google succumbs unconditionally to EU’s “right to be forgotten” ruling

Boat made of recycled plastic and flip-flops inspires fight for cleaner seas along African coast

The succesful cooperation

Making Europe’s businesses future-ready: A new Industrial Strategy for a globally competitive, green and digital Europe

China is the first non-EU country to invest in Europe’s €315 billion Plan

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