- 70% of people who have had COVID-19 have experienced at least one post-infection symptom.
- The treatment is based on cognitive behavioral therapy, psychoeducation and cognitive rehabilitation.
- More than 93,000 professionals who work in health centers are trained for timely detection of mental problems.
Undoubtedly, the COVID-19 pandemic had an impact on the mental health of the population in general, and medical personnel in particular. Some of the main symptoms that those affected developed were depression and anxiety, said the general director of the Psychiatric Care Services (SAP) of the Ministry of Health, Juan Manuel Quijada Gaytán.
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He noted that some medical professionals who were on the front line of care presented symptoms such as suicidal behavior and addictions.
Faced with this situation, the National Health System implemented a prevention and care plan for holistic and mental health The pandemic showed the need for mental health care to be a priority from medical training.
Regarding the general population, he said that 70 percent of people with COVID-19 experience at least one post-infection symptom, such as loss of sense of smell and taste, and 25 percent experience cognitive failure. Also, it can cause deterioration in concentration, memory, language and cognitive functions; anxiety, depression, and behavioral emotional dysregulation with neurodegenerative origins.
He pointed out that medical science continues to study this area, “we do not have all the evidence”, since, in addition, the evolution of symptoms is not standardized, although some instruments are used, such as imaging studies that show brain atrophy, which consists of decreased cortical volume, altered sense of smell, abnormality in the limbic system and in the brain, as well as involvement of the central nervous system.
The COVID-19 pandemic impacted the mental health of the population and medical personnel.
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– HEALTH Mexico (@SSalud_mx) February 18, 2023
So far, the recommended treatment is cognitive-behavioral therapy, a technique used to reduce stress; as well as psychoeducation and cognitive rehabilitation, since there are still no approved medications for this “constellation of symptoms”; however, clinical trials show improvement with melatonin.
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He also noted that scientific evidence shows that some risk factors for long-term COVID-19 are being over 65 years of age, severe pneumonia, persistent shortness of breath, long-term need for supplemental oxygen, and neuroinflammation as a consequence of generalized inflammation. that causes the virus.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the persistence of three or more symptoms such as anxiety, fatigue, headache, loss of appetite, smell disturbance/anosmia, ear and eye pain after acute infection by SARS-CoV-2 can be useful to identify long-term COVID in children and adolescents.
When participating in the joint session between the Ministry of Health and the Mexican Academy of Surgery (AMC), during the Symposium: “Priorities, perspectives and advances in health”, Quijada Gaytán indicated that mental care must be provided from the first level, based on a preventive model and health promotion, to identify symptoms related to this condition.
He stressed that the National Commission Against Addictions (Conadic), the SAP and the Technical Secretariat of the National Mental Health Council (STConsame) are working on the implementation of the reform to the General Health Law on mental health and addictions, where the cornerstone is respect for the rights humans.
Until this date, 93 thousand people who work in health centers have the necessary knowledge to detect mental problems and addictions; includes professionals from medicine, nursing, psychology and social work.
At the same time, services of mental health and addictions in general hospitals, which are the second level of care, so that they provide specialized consultations, pharmacological treatments and rehabilitation programs for patients with problems that cannot be resolved at the first level.
Likewise, the general director of the SAP indicated that it is necessary to strengthen the support networks that people with a mental health problem could count on, in the community and the family, to avoid stigma, inequality, racism and classism.
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