Anxiety and Depression During the COVID-19 Pandemic in Healthcare Students

Author(s): Luz AG, Gazzoli E, Tanaka EZ, Angelini CFR, Juliato CRT, Mazzola PG, Surita FG

Background: The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic corroborated a state of mental stress worldwide, in health students like health professionals, so it is essential to analyze the emotional stability of these students.

Objective: To evaluate depression and anxiety among undergraduate healthcare students using validated scales, in addition to knowing their reactions and perceptions about the implementation of emergency remote education (ERS) in this period of isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Methods: We invited by institutional e-mail, healthcare students regularly enrolled at the University of Campinas. After agreement and consent, a google form link was sent to access the data collection form. Results: We sent 1204 invitations and 270 (22.4%) students agreed to participate (medicine 17.4%, nursing 19.3%, pharmacy 36.3%, and phonoaudiology 27%). Most participants were female (83%), up to 22 years of age (63%), white (69%), and between the first and third years of the course (64. 5%). Regarding remote education, 51.1% of participants reported having some degree of difficulty to follow up. Regarding the perception of social relationships, 37.8% considered themselves to be compromised, and 72.2% reported not feeling able to act in the COVID pandemic. Regarding mental health, 74% had high levels of anxiety, and 37% had moderate or severe depression.

Conclusion: Healthcare students had high levels of severe anxiety and moderate/severe depression. Dissatisfaction with remote education contributed to the increase in depression rates in all courses. Healthcare students’ needs future strategies for mental health during pandemic conditions.

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