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Mental health impact on the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in São Paulo State participants of the Brazilian longitudinal health study (ELSA-Brasil)

Abstract

In late 2019, a new pathogen called SARS-CoV-2 (also described as "COVID-19" or "new coronavirus") was identified in Wuhan, China. The disease spread rapidly among other countries and was characterized as a pandemic by the WHO in March 2020. Twenty percent of cases have severe or critical forms, particularly in those with advanced age or comorbidities. With the exponential increase in new cases and deaths associated with COVID-19, intensive quarantine measures have been adopted worldwide. In Brazil, the state of São Paulo is the region that most registers cases of the disease and deaths, leading the government to decree quarantine across the state in the last week of March 2020. Faced with this scenario of social distance and home isolation, several psychiatric and psychological symptoms might exacerbate or occur. In this context, we propose a prospective study to assess the psychiatric and psychological repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic in the 4150 participants of the Brazilian Longitudinal Study of Adult Health (ELSA-Brasil) followed at the São Paulo Research Center. Four evaluations will be carried out online during the pandemic. The questionnaire will assess, using self-applicable scales, depressive and anxious symptoms, suicide, increased stress, protective factors and risk factors of this population during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, participants with self-rated "poor" mental health will be invited to participate in a randomized clinical trial assessing the effectiveness and safety of group supervised activities ("iPsico protocol") vs. group psychotherapy, via telemedicine, in the reduction of depressive and anxious symptoms. Finally, we will provide psychiatric consultations online for participants with acute suicidal ideation or those who describe their mental health as "poor". (AU)

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