Taking care in times of social isolation goes beyond washing hands or wearing masks

washing hands

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Mr. Victor Araújo Rabelo, a 22 year old medical student at UniCesumar, Brazil. He 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.


In times of pandemic, it is known that all people must protect themselves through anti-sepsis measures, such as, washing hands, wearing masks, cleaning objects and keeping the distance between people. However, this is not so simple and it is not enough for some people. Social isolation (the main way to stop a pandemic) is the cause of great mental stress for many people. Therefore, we notice that ‘staying immune’ to a wave of factors that erode mental health, goes far beyond hand washing or wearing masks.

During the past few days, the world has been experiencing a moment of paralysis of activities. This has generated several concerns, especially with the economy and health services. Indeed, these concerns are important, nevertheless, they have left the issue of mental health in the background.

People with mental illness naturally carry a ‘burden on the backs’ in their daily lives. Sometimes this ‘burden’ is relatively light and it is possible to be dealt with. At other times, however, it becomes too heavy when stressful situations reflect over it. This is usually observed during social isolation, because a different routine is imposed on the person, preventing them from doing their own activities, such as physical exercises and walking.

The impact on mental health happens more aggressively on vulnerable people, for example, those who either have a mental disorder or are elderly. In this last group, it is possible to observe the fear and insecurity of being away from their families or caregivers, in addition to a greater concern related to death, mainly because they are the main risk group.

In the face of all this, it is necessary for us to empathize with people who suffer from these pandemic times. Simple measures to help them are extremely important. Formulating a schedule with daily activities helps to keep the mind running. Besides, it is possible to include in this schedule, moments to exercise and relax at home to promote the proper functioning of the body and mind, since it is known that physical activities help to promote the releasing of innumerable endogenous substances (endorphins) capable of improving our mood and this is extremely important.

Moreover, it is possible that we can use social networks in a way that helps everyone. The first point is not to trust suspicious information (‘fake-news’), as it can cause anguish and anxiety. The second point is to use social networks to get closer to friends and family.

Only through solidarity and empathy will we be able to overcome this difficult moment. It is up to us to take care of ourselves and hope that all this will pass as quickly as possible. So #stayhome #staysafe.

References

  1. World Health Organization: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) advice for the public; online publication; 2020; accessed in April 25, 2020; available in: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public
  2. Ornell Felipe, Schuch Jaqueline B., Sordi Anne O., Kessler Felix Henrique Paim. “Pandemic fear” and COVID-19: mental health burden and strategies. Braz. J. Psychiatry  [Internet]. [cited  2020  Apr  25]. Available from: http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1516-44462020005008201&lng=en.  In press  2020.  Epub Apr 03, 2020.  https://doi.org/10.1590/1516-4446-2020-0008.
  3. World Health Organization: Mental health and psychosocial considerations during the COVID-19 outbreak; 2020.
  4. United Nations Development Programme: COVID-19 pandemic: Humanity needs leadership and solidarity to defeat the coronavirus; online publication; 2020; accessed in April 25, 2020; available in: https://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/coronavirus.html

About the author

Victor Araújo Rabelo is 22 years old medical student. He is currently in the fourth year of Medicine at UniCesumar, Brazil, working as Local Communication and Marketing Director at IFMSA Brazil UniCesumar and Minicourses Coordinator of the Miguel Nicolelis Academic Center. Moreover, he is a member of the Intensive Care League, Surgery League and Medical Clinic League.

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

Parliament boosts efforts to improve its environmental performance

Our tourism system is broken – time to customize

Chart of the day: The internet has a language diversity problem

MEPs call for concrete details and novel tools to address the economic crisis

UN envoy ‘encouraged’ by latest talks on avoiding ‘worst-case scenario’ in Syria’s Idlib

EU Council approves visa-free travel for Ukraine and cement ties with Kiev

ECB will be the catalyst of Eurozone’s reunification

UN honours fallen colleagues and friends who ‘risk all to promote peace’

The European Parliament wants to stay in one place

EU-wide survey shows Europeans support the Conference on the Future of Europe

Chart of the day: These countries have the highest share of electric vehicles

Key economic forum in Russia: New technology a ‘vector of hope’ but also ‘a source of fear’ says Guterres

Fossil fuel support is rising again in a threat to climate change efforts

Universal Health Care: can it exist only in utopic society?

“As German Chancellor I want to be able to cope with the merger of the real and digital economy”, Angela Merkel from Switzerland; the Sting reports live from World Economic Forum 2015 in Davos

An economist explains how to value the internet

Where do Americans stand on immigration? They’re not as divided as you might think

More than 90 per cent of Africa migrants would make perilous Europe journey again, despite the risks

Can alternatives to rhino horn save these gentle giants?

The world has made spectacular progress in every measure of well-being. So why does almost no one know about it?

Why skills are keeping CEOs awake at night

Eastern Partnership: Commission proposes new policy objectives for beyond 2020

Health emergency preparedness and response authority (HERA): European Commission launches public consultation

Rule of Law mechanism applies without further delay as of 1 January, MEPs stress

Draghi indirectly accuses Germany of using double standards in financial issues

Online government services could change your life. But only if you have access to the internet

A new arrangement between Eurozone’s haves and have-nots

World Economic Forum launches COVID Action Platform to fight coronavirus

Accountability in Sudan ‘crucial’ to avoid ‘further bloodshed’, says UN rights office

This is how you should be social distancing – depending on where you are and what you’re doing

Draghi: Germany has to spend if Eurozone is to exit recession

State aid: France to recover €8.5 million of illegal aid to Ryanair at Montpellier airport

These photos show the world of science in stunning detail

India should ‘unlock’ freedom curbs in disputed Kashmir, urges UN human rights chief

Questions & Answers on vaccine negotiations

Key takeaways on digital currency from The Davos Agenda

UNICEF appeals for end to ‘war on children’ in Syria and Yemen

This chart shows how the energy mix is failing in the fight against climate change

Copyright: MEPs back provisional agreement

European Commission to issue €62.9 billion worth bonds under existing programmes in 2021

From Shadows to Sunlight, Paraguay’s Road to Transparency

G20 World Exclusive Interview: “The world, especially emerging economies and developing countries, require a more sustainable and quality development”, the Spokesperson of Japan underscores live from Antalya Turkey

Five-year low inflation for Eurozone and now Mario has to finally wake up the Germans

Security Council gravely concerned by Ebola outbreak in DR Congo, demands immediate end to violence hampering response

Traditional knowledge at ‘core’ of indigenous heritage, and ‘must be protected’, says UN Forum

Negotiations on new EU collective redress rules to begin

UN sees progress in fight against tobacco, warns more action needed to help people quit deadly product

One in three fish caught never gets eaten

Reception conditions for asylum-seekers agreed between MEPs and Council

UN human rights chief fears world has grown numb to Syrian carnage

Sudan: ‘Exercise utmost restraint’ urges Guterres as thousands march in Khartoum, sparking deadly clashes

All States have ‘primary responsibility’ to protect against hate attacks

Why lay people don’t expect anything good from G20

Global Citizen-Volunteer Internships

Somalia: UN Security Council condemns terrorist attack in which dozens were killed or injured

Access to healthcare: what do we lack?

Would you want to live to 150? Top quotes on what it means to grow old

How to talk to people about mental health – and support one another

How affordable clean energy solutions can tackle energy poverty

5 surprising ways digital technology is changing childhood

More Stings?

Advertising

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