Coronaviruses are a group of viruses that cause infections, varying in severity, in people. Usually, these infections are associated with the respiratory system, and can be similar to a common flu or progress to a more serious pathology, such as pneumonia. The World Health Organization (WHO) gave the name COVID-19 because it is the name of the disease that results from the words “Corona”, “Virus” and “Disease”, indicating the year it appeared (2019).
The disease was first identified in December 2019 in the city of Wuhan, central China (WHO, 2019; CDC, 2019). On January 31, 2020, the World Health Organization declared a public health emergency with the emergence of cases in Japan, Thailand, the United States of America, Australia and France (WHO, 2020).
This emergency that the world is currently facing has similarities to the SARS outbreak, which we experienced between 2002 and 2003 and killed more than 800 people.
Despite the different clinical presentations, the rapid pattern of transmission and the lack of preparedness of health authorities are two similar points between outbreaks. From what is known that almost half of the survivors of the last coronavirus – SARS – developed mental disorders after the outbreak, such as anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress (PTSD) (Wu, Chan, Ma(2005), Hawryluck, Gold, Robinson et al (2004)).
A study published in 2014 in the trade journal East Asian Arch Psychiatry showed that 54.5% of survivors developed post-traumatic stress anxiety, while 39% had depression. Which leads us to believe that this public health crisis caused by COVID-19 could have as consequences scenarios of depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress (PSPT).
The reality we live today leads us to take care/measures reinforced in medical care. However, we cannot neglect mental health care, especially for infected patients, close contacts and the population suffering the consequences of the pandemic. This is because it is known that when these public health situations arise, people with psychological/mental pathologies are generally more susceptible and may have an increased risk of infections, including pneumonia (Seminog & Goldacre, 2013; China Newsweek, 2020); as well as the pandemic situation will lead these people to experience, in a more intensified way, the emotional responses brought about by COVID-19, resulting in relapses or worsening of a pre-existing mental health condition.
We must also pay attention to the first-line work teams (doctors, nurses, health technicians, assistants, firefighters, pharmacists, among others), as it is known that there are already several medical teams that have been and are infected with COVID-19. 19, as they are in direct/indirect contact with infected patients.
These professionals are highly affected, not only in physical health, but also in psychological/mental health, since, when working under current conditions, anxiety and stress regarding the increased workload and the risk of infection affect them. them adversely. Anxiety is a negative emotion quite present in medical teams during epidemics of infectious diseases (Peng, Lee, Tsai et al, 2010).
The COVID-19 pandemic has been causing serious threats to the physical health and lives of all people, triggering a wide variety of psychological problems.
In this sense, it is essential to create support and implement psychological support measures for both front-line professionals and the entire community, due to the consequences, as well as the sequelae that COVID-19 entails.
It is necessary that all mental health professionals (psychologists and psychiatrists) take the initiative to adopt a system of prevention and intervention, including epidemiological monitoring, screening, referral and intervention directed and individualized to each victim of the pandemic, in order to reduce the psychological distress and prevent the emergence of new mental and psychological health problems.
In the event that you are one of these cases and you constantly feel anguish, sadness, depression, anger, fear, stress, burnout, as well as other emotional changes, seek professional help. There are already several professionals working in this direction, through video calls and teleconsultations, which aim not only to intervene individually on a case-by-case basis in mental health and psychological discomfort, but also to help better manage emotions such as stress, anxiety, anguish, fear; promote psychological resilience and reinforce the population’s sense of security and provide psychological first aid.