COVID-19 - The invisible enemy: impacts on students' mental health and coping strategies




Anxiety; Depression; Fear; Complementary therapies; Social isolation.


The COVID-19 pandemic is an unexpected historical event with an impact on all aspects of life - especially those of an occupational and mental nature. In a few months, it has altered daily life and social relations and, in addition to social distancing, isolation or quarantine, the world's population has to live with fear, insecurity and human and economic losses. Young people, particularly young women with a psychiatric history and no social support, are more vulnerable to the psycho-emotional consequences of the pandemic. The objective of this study was to observe the impact of COVID-19 on the mental health of students and their coping strategies. This was an observational study with a quantitative and cross-sectional method. The sample consisted of health students from a public university in the state of Paraíba, Brazil. Participants were recruited from the digital platforms in June 2020, a period of social isolation. The link to the Google forms questionnaire was made available on Instagram and WhatsApp. A total of 56 students, most of them women, answered the questionnaire. The most prevalent symptoms during social isolation were anxiety (76.8%), concern (71.4%), fear (62.5%), insomnia (60.7%) and sadness (55.4%). Anxiety, depression, and hopelessness symptoms were more prevalent in younger female students with negative health perception. Complementary therapies and conversations with friends and family stand out as coping strategies. Mental health demands a convergence of efforts and institutional actions are needed to manage the psycho-emotional and neurobiological impact of COVID-19 in an integrated and integral way.

Author Biographies

Ana Lúcia Basilio Carneiro, Universidade Federal da Paraíba

Ana Lúcia Basilio Carneiro has a degree in Dentistry, besides being a specialist in Psychobiology, Pathological Anatomy and Acupuncture, a Master in Psychobiology and a Ph.D in Biotechnology. She is trained in Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy, Bioelectrography, Reiki, Microsystem of the Auricle, Yamamoto's Craniopuncture, Cupping therapy, Xing Nao Kai Qiao (Acupuncture to treat post-stroke sequelae or CVA), ThetaHealing® Basic DNA and Magnetista Emeritus. Currrenty, she teaches Neuroanatomy at the Health Sciences Center (CCS) in Universidade Federal da Paraíba (UFPB). She is the head of the research group “NeuroConexõesUFPB” (UFPB/CNPq) and coordinator of the teaching, research and extension project “NeuroConexões: health, well-being and integrative and complementary practices”.

Semírames Cartonilho de Souza Ramos, Universidade Federal da Paraíba

Semirames Cartonilho de Souza Ramos has a degree in Nursing and is a specialist in Obstetric Nursing, Neonatal ICU and Urgency and Emergency. She is also a Master in Public Health, a Ph.D in Gynecology, Mastology and Obstetrics. Trained in Integrative Community Therapy, she is currently a professor of Women's Health and Methodology of Scientific Work at Universidade Federal da Paraíba (UFPB). Furthermore, she is a researcher with the “NeuroConexõesUFPB” group (UFPB/CNPq) and assistant coordinator of the project “NeuroConexões: health, well-being and integrative and complementary practices”.

Arthur Willian de Lima Brasil, Universidade Federal da Paraíba

Possui Graduação, Mestrado e Doutorado em Medicina Veterinária pela Universidade Federal de Campina Grande (UFCG). Atualmente é professor da Universidade Federal da Paraíba (UFPB). Tem experiência nas áreas de Medicina Veterinária, Epidemiologia, Experimentação animal e Bioestatística. É colaborador do projeto de ensino, extensão e pesquisa NeuroConexões: saúde, bem-estar e práticas integrativas e complementares.

Lindair Alves da Silva, Hospital Metropolitano Dom José Maria Pires

Lindair Alves da Silva has a degree in Medicine from Universidade do Estado do Amazonas (UEA) and undergraduated in History from Universidade Federal do Amazonas (UFAM). He is a specialist in Family Health and Neurology, besides being a Physician at Hospital Metropolitano Dom José Maria Pires in Santa Rita-PB and Hospital de Trauma e Emergência Senador Humberto Lucena, João Pessoa-PB. He is part of the research group “NeuroConexõesUFPB” and contributor of the teaching, extension and research project “NeuroConexões: Health, well-being and integrative and complementary practices”. He is also interested in Neuroepidemiology, headache and neuropsychiatric disorders.

Gleydson Grangeiro de Lima, Universidade Federal da Paraíba

Health Sciences Center, Department of Dentistry.

Lincoln Basilio Alves, Universidade Federal da Paraíba

Lincoln Basilio Alves undergraduated from Medical School. He is a researcher oriented to innovation, with an administrative and health care perspective and a bias in marketing and entrepreneurship. He is a member of the research group “NeuroConexõesUFPB” (UFPB/CNPq).

Mariana Nunes Azevedo de Melo, Universidade Federal da Paraíba

Health Sciences Center, Department of Speech Therapy.

Conceição de Maria Bezerra de Melo, Universidade Federal da Paraíba

Health Sciences Center , Department of Occupational Therapy.


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How to Cite

CARNEIRO, A. L. B.; RAMOS, S. C. de S. .; BRASIL, A. W. de L. .; SILVA, L. A. da; LIMA, G. G. de .; ALVES, L. B. .; MELO, M. N. A. de .; MELO, C. de M. B. de . COVID-19 - The invisible enemy: impacts on students’ mental health and coping strategies. Research, Society and Development, [S. l.], v. 10, n. 1, p. e59110112144, 2021. DOI: 10.33448/rsd-v10i1.12144. Disponível em: Acesso em: 28 feb. 2021.



Health Sciences