Mental health of youth and Pandemic: a sick future

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Maria Carolina Sawadi Guizilini and Ms. Maria Victória Lima Waquim is a medical student, courses the 5th semester of medicine school at Unicesumar, Brazil. They are 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.


The first death by COVID-19 in Brazil was declared on March 17, 2020, since then the number of losses has been rising and recently, the country reached the mark of 500,000 deaths by COVID-19,1 a fact that almost all segments of society deeply regretted. Unfortunately, unlike what was propagated at the beginning of the pandemic, many lives were lost at an early age by the new corona virus. Young Brazilians had to face the most varied issues in the pandemic, as problems of locomotion, difficulties to keep attending academic environments, financial problems, difficulties of being vaccinated in the country, and mainly, the fear of acquiring a deadly disease and transmitting this disease to their loved ones, problems that have profoundly affect the mental health of this population.

In this context of future uncertainly, many research point out that this pandemic brought with it an epidemic of mental disorders among young people. According to a recent survey with 45,161,000 people in Brazil, sadness and depression had a prevalence of 40.4%, and 52.6% of the respondents reported being frequently anxious or nervous due to the conditions intrinsic to the pandemic. Among the demographic groups analyzed in the research, individuals aged between 18 and 29 years were the most affected by the listed problems.2 Young people are more psychic vulnerable to mental comorbidities because there are many professional, academic, and personal life changes that take part during the youth. In addition, young age and low experience combined to the lack of future perspectives are factors that aggravate this fragility, which was accentuated with the pandemic. In Brazil, suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death among people between 15 and 29 years.3 During the pandemic, when individuals are more exposed to triggers for mental health problems, it’s extremely necessary to resume the concepts of health proposed by the WHO, where health is not only the absence of disease, but a complete state of mental and social physical well-being,4 and thus seek ways to maintain the integrity of the mental health of these individuals, aiming to avoid an epidemic of mental disorders among young people.

It is undeniable that new generations are an important part of the society, they are the basis of the age pyramid and the future of the country, and if young people are mentally ill, the future gets sick with them. The consequences of the coronavirus pandemic will not end with the eradication of the disease, and mental health problems are one of these consequences that will have long-term effects. It’s necessary to take care of the population’s mental health, especially of young people, so that in a near future they can act to build a fairer, more democratic and healthier society.

References

  1. Ministry of Health of Brazil. Coronavírus Brasil – Painel Coronavírus [internet]. 2021 [cited June 24, 2021]. Available from https://covid.saude.gov.br/
  2. Barros MBA, Lima MG, Malta DC, Szwarcwald CL, Azevedo RCS, Romero D, et al. Relato de tristeza, depressão, nervosismo, ansiedade e problemas de sono na população adulta brasileira durante a pandemia de COVID-19. Epidemiologia e Serviços de Saúde. 2020; 29(4). Available from https://www.scielosp.org/article/ress/2020.v29n4/ e2020427/
  3. Secretaria de Saúde do Estado da Bahia. OMS alerta: Suicídio é a 3 a causa de morte de jovens brasileiros entre 15 e 29 anos [internet]. 2020 [cited June 24, 2021]. Available from http://www.saude.ba.gov.br/ 2020/09/10/oms-alerta-suicidio-e-a-3a-causa-de-morte-de-jovens- brasileiros-entre-15-e-29-anos/
  4. Ministry of Health of Brazil. Saúde Brasil. O que significa ter saúde? Muito além da ausência de doenças, é preciso considerar o bem-estar físico, mental e social [internet]. 2020 [cited June 24, 2021]. Available from https://saudebrasil.saude.gov.br/eu-quero-me-exercitar-mais/o-que- significa-ter-saude

About the author

Maria Carolina Sawadi Guizilini is a medical student and courses the 5th semester of medicine school at Unicesumar, local coordinator of IFMSA- Unicesumar. She is developing research about health of pregnant and postpartum women and is part of the board of the Academic League of Medical Semiology of Maringá.

Maria Victória Lima Waquim is a medical student, courses the 5th semester of medicine school at Unicesumar, Brazil and is a local coordinator of IFMSA-Unicesumar. She is a member of the academic league of mental health (LASMUC) and is developing a research about metabolic programming in adolescence.

Comments

  1. higherrankmarketing says:

    Young people’s mental health is finally getting the attention it needs. The COVID-19 pandemic, a UNICEF report. Thus, exposure to pandemic-related stressors is likely to be associated with increases in anxiety, depression, and behavior problems in children. 80% of respondents agreed that the coronavirus pandemic had made their mental health worse.

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