Youth mental health and the pandemic: a sick future – The European Sting – Critical News & Insights on European Politics, Economy, Foreign Affairs, Business & Technology

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This article was written exclusively for The European Sting by Ms Maria Carolina Sawadi Guizilini and Ms Maria Victória Lima Waquim is a medical student attending classes in the 5th semester at the Faculty of Medicine of Unicesumar, Brazil. They are affiliated with the International Federation of Medical Student Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this article are strictly the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of IFMSA on the subject, nor of The European Sting.

The first death from COVID-19 in Brazil was declared on March 17, 2020, since then the number of losses has increased and recently the country reached the mark of 500,000 deaths from COVID-19,1 a fact that almost all segments of society have deeply regretted. Unfortunately, unlike what spread at the start of the pandemic, many lives were lost at an early age by the new corona virus. Young Brazilians have had to deal with the most varied problems of the pandemic, such as problems with locomotion, difficulties in continuing to attend university, financial problems, difficulties in getting vaccinated in the country, and above all, the fear of contracting a fatal disease and transmitting this disease. to their loved ones, problems that have profoundly affected the mental health of this population.

In this context of an uncertain future, many researches point out that this pandemic was accompanied by an epidemic of mental disorders among young people. According to a recent survey of 45,161,000 people in Brazil, sadness and depression had a prevalence of 40.4%, and 52.6% of those surveyed reported being frequently anxious or nervous due to the conditions inherent in the pandemic. . Among the demographic groups analyzed in the research, individuals between the ages of 18 and 29 were the most affected by the problems listed.2 Young people are psychically more vulnerable to mental co-morbidities because many changes in their professional, academic and personal life occur during youth. In addition, young age and poor experience combined with a lack of future prospects are factors that aggravate this fragility, which has been accentuated with the pandemic. In Brazil, suicide is the third leading cause of death for people between 15 and 29 years old.3 During the pandemic, when individuals are more exposed to the triggers of mental health problems, it is extremely necessary to take up the concepts of health proposed by the WHO, where health is not only the absence of disease, but a complete state of physical, mental and social well-being. -being,4 and thus seek ways to maintain the integrity of the mental health of these people, with the aim of avoiding an epidemic of mental disorders among young people.

It is undeniable that the new generations are an important part of society, they are the base of the age pyramid and the future of the country, and if young people are mentally ill, the future becomes ill. The consequences of the coronavirus pandemic will not end with the eradication of the disease, and mental health issues are among those consequences that will have long-term effects. We must take care of the mental health of the population, especially young people, so that they can act in the near future to build a more just, more democratic and healthier society.

The references

  1. Brazilian Ministry of Health. Coronavírus Brazil – Painel Coronavírus [internet]. 2021 [cited June 24, 2021]. Available from
  2. Barros MBA, Lima MG, Malte 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 pandemic of COVID-19. Epidemiologia e Serviços de Saúde. 2020; 29 (4). Available from e2020427 /
  3. Secretaria de Saúde do Estado da Bahia. WHO alert: Suicídio é a 3 a causa de mort de jovens brasileiros between 15 and 29 years [internet]. 2020 [cited June 24, 2021]. Available from 2020/09/10 / oms-alerta-suicidio-ea-3a-causa-de-morte-de-jovens-brasileiros-entre-15-e-29-anos /
  4. Brazilian Ministry of Health. Saúde Brasil. Where does that signify 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 significance-ter-saude

About the Author

Maria Carolina Sawadi Guizilini is a medical student and follows the 5th semester of the Faculty of Medicine of Unicesumar, local coordinator of IFMSA-Unicesumar. She develops research on the health of pregnant and postpartum women and is a member of the board of directors of the Academic League of Medical Semiology of Maringá.

Maria Victória Lima Waquim is a medical student, attending the 5th semester of the Unicesumar Medical School, Brazil and is the local coordinator of IFMSA-Unicesumar. She is a member of the Academic League of Mental Health (LASMUC) and is developing research on metabolic programming in adolescence.

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