COVID-19, youth and the impacts on mental health: it is time to change society’s mindset

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Mr. Leonardo Baracat Caria is a 5th year medical student at Faculdade de Medicina de Jundiai (FMJ), in Jundiaí-SP, Brazil. He is affiliated with 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 March 2020, the World Health Organization declared what would be a milestone for the last years and generations, the COVID-19 pandemic went literally and metaphorically viral around the world. However, what seemed to be just a case of public health, started to show its way through a more social and cultural factor. The pandemic of a virus with systemic inflammatory repercussions has been impacting significantly the mental health of the population obliged to discuss a topic that it has been trying to hold back. Besides talking about the complications of COVID-19, experts, the media and the health systems had to deal with a topic so poorly addressed previously – the mental health. With the advent of technology, those who were closer to digital media were able to access a variety of contents on this matter, mainly in the new platforms and social media, but also following the new strategies for distance education. Yes, we are talking about the youth.

It is no news that youth are frequently technologically connected; as a result, perhaps previous generations may have considered young people to fell a lower impact in a life with physical distancing. In fact, at first it could be a relief to think about a life far from schools and college, from in-person exams and other mandatory tasks. Nevertheless, let a teenager confined at home for a few days, without their friends, no fun, not taking their voices to the streets, not properly living their youth, in the middle of so many deaths, risks of contamination and political scandals, and the impacts will soon come up.

For those working with public health, the occurrence of mental health complaints within kids and teenagers is notable. Emergencies receiving young people with anxiety attacks;

Hebiatry ambulatories addressing depression, difficulties to keep interpersonal relations, and substance abuse; and Pediatricians at public health centers attending phobias, fear, insomnia and bad nutrition. At home, there could be more disagreements, less patience, more stress and less quality of life. In a time of life in which personal experiences and insights are essential to develop the human being one wants to be, how can young people express themselves beyond the screens, which they cannot stand anymore?

If in the past there was not enough reasons to discuss mental health issues nationwide, now is the time to change our mindset. The “out of sight, out of mind” culture is a fallacy that turns the situation even worse. Both the youth and the whole population suffer from the psychological/psychiatric discomforts intensified by the taboo of mental health. Our kids and teenagers are getting sick before us and behind the screens. Viral memes and Tik Tok jokes used as criticism to this new reality are not only entertainment, but also a call for help.

About the author

Leonardo Baracat Caria is a 5th year medical student at Faculdade de Medicina de Jundiai (FMJ), in Jundiaí-SP, Brazil. His interest in public health and psychiatry moves him to participate in social projects for the population in vulnerable situations and more recently in voluntary programs during the pandemic. He believes that a broad and accessible communication can contribute to bring the population closer to the Health field. For him a good information exchange is a key step to break the barriers and prejudice against mental health.


  1. Shivam says:

    It’s good to see an article talking about mental health. We need to look at mental health in a different and in important way.

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