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Public health France pointed out, on November 19, “a significant increase in depressive disorders” among the French, particularly among 18-24 year olds. A deterioration in mental health observed by school nurses in adolescents and students, but also in children.
“We want to avoid a third wave which would be (that) of mental health,” said the Minister of Health Olivier Véran, on November 18. The psyche of part of a part of the French population was severely tested by the two confinements, especially that of the youngest.
The number of cases of “depressive disorders” almost doubled between late September and early November, from 11% to 21%, according to data from Public Health France. The public health agency also notes that “the most significant increases are observed in particular among the youngest (+16 points among 18-24 year olds)”.
The third wave, “we are already in”, estimates Chantal Chantoiseau, member of the national office and academic secretary in Paris of the Snics-FSU, contacted by France 24. “The number of consultations of students with school nurses has increased at the return of more than 20% in France, it shows the need and the discomfort in which they are. “
The Snics-FSU, the majority union of national education nurses, held an extraordinary congress on Thursday November 26 in order to have feedback on the daily work of the 7,700 French nurses … for 15 million young people of all levels – schools, colleges, high schools and higher education. “Across the country, there was talk of suicide attempts much more important than normal among young people, perpetual anguish too, a need for information and to be reassured,” lists Chantal Chantoiseau.
School nurses “understaffed and overworked”
The situation during a Covid-19 pandemic also does not seem to be looking good on the side of the pediatric emergency services. In Ile-de-France hospitals, for example, “pediatric hospitalizations for psychiatric reasons have continued to increase since August. They stood at 3600 at the end of October, against 2400 a year earlier, an increase of 50%”, according to a dashboard of the Assistance publique-Hôpitaux de Paris of November 19 cited by Le Monde.
>> To see: “Covid-19 in France: what effects on the mental health of young people?”
Adolescents, children and students: no young population seems spared by the uncertain health context. Several child psychiatrists explained recently, in a column published by Le Monde, that children could present a whole range of symptoms due to the current health situation: “increased irritability”, “sleep disorders” or “fear. of the death of a loved one “due to Covid-19.
The students are also put to the mental test by the confinement. The National Resource and Resilience Center and the FHF Fund were able to establish a psychological “picture of their state of health” between April 17 and May 4. Result: 27.5% of the 69,000 students questioned reported severe anxiety, against 9.8% outside the context of a pandemic. Some 11.4% also had suicidal thoughts, compared to 8% normally.
“And we only have 300 school nurses for the whole of higher education [2,7 millions d’étudiants, NDLR]”, breathes Chantal Chantoiseau. The Snics-FSU has also given a” cry of alarm “on the lack of human resources in the profession, at all school levels, to deal with the deterioration of mental health in a part of the young. “Our role is to welcome any student who wishes, to guide if necessary, to treat and especially to ensure a follow-up of the young people who consult us, explains Chantal Chantoiseau. All of this can no longer be done because we are understaffed and overworked. In addition, psychological damage in young people will last over time; at least one nurse per school would need to be able to handle the situation. “