Action on university mental health with the medical and nursing academics of the health annex of the State University of Maranhão in 2019: An Experience Report.

Title: Action on university mental health with the medical and nursing academics of the health annex of the State University of Maranhão in 2019: An Experience Report.

Authors: Safira Ferreira Alves; Indira Odete Amorim de Matos Menezes; 

NMO: IFMSA- Brazil

Theme: SCOPH

E-mail: [email protected]

Stress can be defined as an anticipated or actual state of threat to the balance of the organism and its reaction, which aims to restore balance through a complex set of physiological and behavioural responses. The maintenance of this state of balance is essential for the healthy course of life, however, the mental health of health professionals has been very much in vogue since the beginning of the century, because they are submitted to a stressful routine. And this is reflected in the beginning of the training of these professionals at university, here in focus the medical and nursing students.

Living with an intense workload, with various tasks and little time to devote to themselves, these aspects have been reflected in the physical and psychological well-being of these individuals. Stress and accentuated psychological discomfort are considered frequent reasons for behaviors harmful to physical and psychological health (smoking, poor diet, alcohol abuse and psychoactive substances). Thus, it is clear that there is a great need for university programs to develop preventive activities in the face of this reality experienced by students, which is why the first university mental health workshop was held.

 The project was held on September 24, 25 and 26, 2019, by medical students from UEMA (State University of Maranhão), in partnership with IFMSA (International Federation of Medical Student Associations) in Caxias-MA. The workshop brought topics such as self-care, control of feelings, time management, meaning of life, management of emotions, coping with anxiety and depression. In addition, interactive moments were held with relaxation techniques, dynamics and conversation wheels. 

The activity was very edifying, the students were able to recognize each other, sharing the same feelings and realized that they were not the only ones to feel such sensations. In one of the emotion management activities the students were asked to draw the first thought as they read the raffled word. The results were vivid, many were also able to externalize in the conversation wheel feelings that afflicted them.

For all these reasons, it is clear that students need actions with a look at the afflictions experienced in everyday academic life, where they can be heard and listen to each other, learn techniques to divide their time in a healthy way between study, family and to take care of themselves. In this sense, campaigns and conversation and interaction wheels are positive activities to raise awareness of the importance of caring for one’s own mental health and that of others. Therefore, activities such as these should be encouraged in IFMSA committees.


  1. Amorim BB, Moraes L, Sá ICG, Silva BBG, Camara Filho JWS. Saúde mental do estudante de Medicina: psicopatologia, estresse, sono e qualidade de vida. Revista Psicologia, Diversidade e Saúde. 2018 [accessed 20 Jan 2020] Available from:

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