The Yellow September campaign, of suicide prevention and mental health care, gains relevance and weight in the current context of the Covid-19 pandemic. So much so that the federal government launched this Wednesday (1) a training course for emergencies in mental health for professionals from the Unified Health System (SUS) and the Mobile Emergency Care Service (Samu) throughout Brazil.
According to the Ministry of Health, the first three groups of professional training will be offered to health professionals from all capitals in the country. There is also a concern to “strengthen the practice of humanized behavior”.
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“We are delivering one of the most innovative contributions: starting today, mentally ill in crisis will receive the best possible treatment. We will no longer have patients being handcuffed and taken by force for care. We will have humane treatment”, announced the secretary of the Ministry of Health, Mayra Pinheiro.
The Ministry of Health claims to have invested R$ 1.5 billion to open new services in the Psychosocial Care Network (Raps) in 2020. At least 3,164 of these units provide consultation on mental health across the country: 796 Therapeutic Homes; 69 Reception Units (adult and juvenile); 1,802 mental health beds in general hospitals; 13,098 beds in psychiatric hospitals; 59 multidisciplinary teams of specialized mental health care and 144 Street Clinics. R$ 99 million were also spent to qualify the service of the 2,742 Psychosocial Care Centers (Caps).
The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) announced in August this year that 60% of the population of the American continent suffers from anxiety or depression, referring to a “mental health crisis” in the region due to the pandemic.
“We are facing a mental health crisis that, if not resolved, will have serious consequences. It will not only aggravate the burden of mental disorders, but it will prolong the impact of the pandemic”, warned, at a press conference, the director of PAHO, Carissa Etienne. “Countries must invest in mental health now to address the ongoing threat of the pandemic and limit its ripple effects in years to come.”
Law No. 13,819, of April 26, 2019 regulates the National Policy for the Prevention of Self-Mutilation and Suicide at municipal, state and federal levels, being “a permanent strategy of the public power for the prevention of these events and for the treatment of the conditions associated with them”.
Before the start of the pandemic, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), Brazil was the country with the largest population of anxious people in the world: 18.6 million (9.3% of the population). With the pandemic, cases of anxiety increased by 80%, according to a survey by the State University of Rio de Janeiro (UERJ).
Mental health in the pandemic
The need for social isolation, constant fear of infection, death of close people, psychological and physical stress, unemployment (14.4 million, according to the IBGE), social vulnerability, economic and political instability. All of these factors contribute to aggravate mental health conditions and cause conditions such as:
– Difficulty concentrating
– Obsessive-compulsive disorder
“Fear of losing a loved one can lead to panic attacks. We have no control over what happens to each other. In order to try to satisfy this anxiety, we turn to food”, explains the psychologist at the Trindade Emergency Hospital, Polliana Araújo.
An research carried out by the Federal University of Juiz de Fora (UFJF) in April this year analyzed the impacts of the pandemic on the mental health of the population. According to the Psychology professor Fabiane Rossi, who coordinated the study, among the changes in behavior are the increase in the use of substances such as cigarettes, alcohol, other drugs and the fears, expectations and mood changes presented by the public.
For Jair de Jesus Mari, psychiatrist and head of the Psychiatry Department at the São Paulo School of Medicine, Federal University of São Paulo (EPM/Unifesp), there are three phases of psychological symptoms related to the pandemic:
1 – Fear of contamination: generates acute stress;
2 – Confinement: generates feelings of helplessness, boredom, anger, anxiety and irritability;
3 – Economic losses resulting from the pandemic: it can generate depression and post-traumatic stress.
“The epidemic is, therefore, a strong stress factor which, in turn, is a causal factor of neurophysiological imbalances. The persistence and prolongation of these hormonal, inflammatory and neurochemical imbalances can trigger a more serious mental disorder”, said Mari to the Unifesp website.
mental health on the agenda
The issue of mental health gained international prominence with what happened to Simone Biles at the Tokyo Olympic Games. One of the biggest stars of the competition, the American gymnast abandoned some competitions to spare her mental health alleging mental stress. The issue had international repercussions and brought the concern with mental health to public debate.
Some companies have already started to worry about the problem. Nike in Oregon, USA, has given its administrative employees a week off to promote a mental health break. “All of our leaders are sending a clear message: take time to relax, de-stress and spend time with your loved ones,” posted Matt Marrazzo, one of the company’s managers, on LinkedIn.
The same tactic was adopted by the social network itself, in April this year, to avoid Burnout Syndrome, caused by chronic work stress.
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