Covid pandemic worsens mental health cases and young people suffer

The yellow tone that is exhibited on Brasília’s ipês gains a new connotation in the month of September. From the color that enchants to the color that alerts. Yellow September is a national campaign that aims to guide the debate on mental health and suicide prevention. In the eighth edition, the campaign has the theme “Acting saves lives”.

Psychologist Ana Bonadese emphasizes that the Campaign is a memorial to the importance of talking about emotional illness and the possible tragic consequences that can culminate in suicide. However, she emphasizes that attention to risk is needed throughout the year.

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“It is essential to have universal, effective and efficient access to mental health services guaranteed to the population that has this indication”, he defends.

According to the Brazilian Psychiatric Association (ABP), in Brazil, more than 13 thousand suicides are registered every year and more than 1 million in the world. The numbers can be much higher “due to underreporting”, warns the association.

In a statement, the ABP highlights that the scenario is worrying and that the numbers serve as “alerts that mental health is an important issue for public health.” Every year there are more cases of mental illness and suicide, especially among young people.

In 2015, Brazil started the campaign ‘Setembro Amarelo’ / Agência Brasil

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For Bonadese, the pandemic context aggravated cases of depressive and anxiety disorders. She explains that the risks for illness and suicide are multifactorial, but that in some environments the impacts are more aggressive.

In the academic environment, with “increasing difficulty in dealing with remote classes, suffering from social isolation, growing economic insecurity, fear of death and not having timely access to preventive and post-infection public health services contributes to the aggravation and increase of clinical cases” points out the psychologist.


“The insecurity of university students is even greater, either because of the difficulties in placing them in the labor market, or because of the characteristic that is already typical of the academic environment, of many demands, competitiveness and disparities in socio-cultural training in an environment unwilling to carry out the necessary structural corrections ” said Bonadese.

For the psychology student and member of the Central Directory of Students at the University of Brasília (DCE-UNB), Maria Eduarda Gibson, to talk about the topic, it is necessary to demystify the individualization of responsibility for suicide. “We must see it as a social evil and its prevention as the responsibility of the State and other institutions. Being the University, a place where the discussion plays a leading role”.

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The student explains that the Directory of Students works on the political strengthening of agendas related to health, “which makes mental health a priority, given the historicity of psychological suffering among students”, she points out.

In Bonadese’s opinion, mental health is still a sensitive topic in the academic environment. “It is common to observe cases of university students who are unable to deal with the typical demands of the end of training periods, in which internships and research and course completion (TCC and monographs) are mandatory and end up developing depressive, anxious episodes , between others”.

Physical and mental health promotion actions are important to mitigate the effects of the pandemic. Access to quality information allows the suffering population to seek professional help. Diagnosis and treatment can only be made by health professionals, preferably psychologists and psychiatrists, but detection is also required by other physicians. Some relevant warning signs for a possible illness are: changes in appetite, insomnia, irritability, concentration difficulties, loss of academic performance and social withdrawal.

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“Furthermore, speeches such as “I want to sleep and not wake up anymore”, “I only work”, “I’m useless”, “I’m a burden to people” and farewell actions, such as organizing documents, closing contracts and things like that, in addition to risky behavior (dangerous driving, substance abuse, risky social behavior) are indications that suicidal ideation may be present”, emphasizes psychologist Ana Bonadese.

research and health

Coordinator of the health portfolio at the DCE, Maria Gibson informed that the administration of UnB, through the University Health Care Board (DASU), is promoting the first Mental Health Survey, which “aims to map the suffering of students at this time” , how its results aim to contribute to defining the institution’s operating guidelines.

“The research is already in its final phase and the results will be presented to UnB’s COVID 19 Recovery Actions Committee (CCAR) and also to the Teaching, Research and Extension Council (CEPE). In addition, a permanent Commission is being formed to discuss what has already been built for the UnB Promotora da Saúde policy”, he informs.


About 97% of suicide cases are related to mental disorders. First is depression, followed by bipolar disorder and substance abuse, warns the ABP.

“Death from this cause is a medical emergency and can be avoided through the adequate treatment of the underlying mental disorder”, emphasizes the president of the ABP, Dr. Antônio Geraldo da Silva.

Since 2014, the Brazilian Psychiatric Association (ABP), in partnership with the Federal Council of Medicine (CFM), nationally organizes the Yellow September. The 10th of this month is officially World Suicide Prevention Day, but the campaign runs throughout the year.

Source: Federal District BdF

Edition: Flávia Quirino

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