“This reconfinement is a real ordeal”, describes Inès, a student in the third year of the license. Like her, 22% of students are in deep distress, according to the Fédération Hospitalière de France. 11% are even prone to suicidal thoughts. For three weeks, Public Health France has reported a continuous increase in depressive states among young people aged 18 to 24.
“Because of the stress and all this anxiety-provoking context, insomnia set in,” says Inès. “I had to go get some medicine to help me get to sleep. I am also constipated, although my diet is varied and balanced. And that’s without counting the muscular pains because of the hours sitting on the same chair… ”
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Immersed in solitude
For Fanny Sauvade, psychologist and co-founder of the Apsytude association, students can no longer relieve the pressure through their social life. “Students currently no longer have all the resources and valves they usually have to deal with difficulties,” she explains. In fact, 50% of students suffered from loneliness during the first confinement, according to a survey by the Observatory of Student Life (OVE).
Oihana, 19, started a DUT in management in October, and was never able to form strong relationships in her promotion. What does he miss the most? “Relationships, with people in my promotion as well as with teachers. Guillaume, a communication and journalism student in Toulouse, shares this sentiment. “What I miss the most are my friends. Having real contacts, not just virtual ones. “
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Increase in inequalities
According to OVE, 69% of students attended classes or work meetings via videoconference during the first confinement. But only 39% were satisfied with the educational arrangements put in place during this period. According to Feres Belghith, director of the OVE, “universities take better account of the second confinement than the first”, but the students’ difficulties remain enormous.
“When you’re on video all day and you can’t see anyone, learning cannot be done at the same speed,” explains Vanessa Lalo, a psychologist specializing in digital uses. For her, this promotes inequalities: “Not everyone is at the same level of equipment. It is the same difficulty as for teleworking. “
A very good student in high school, Oihana had great difficulty following her lessons online. In question: a bad connection. “I couldn’t download the accounting software we are running on,” she says. “I try to follow through Teams, but it’s impossible to understand without having the software in front of you, because you have to enter very specific data. “
Difficulties linked to precariousness
A third of the students encountered financial difficulties during the first confinement according to OVE. This trend is not new, since 51% of the beneficiaries of Restos du Coeur were under 26 in 2018. But confinement has precipitated many students into precariousness.
“Many of the students lining up at the food bank had never asked for help,” says Vanessa Lalo. “Odd jobs are made impossible, either because the establishments are closing, or because their activity is slowed down,” she reports. “The financial insecurity linked to the loss of student jobs causes significant stress,” adds Fanny Sauvade.
Guillaume lost his student job at the Toulouse space city. “I no longer have this inflow of 200 euros per month. I have to repay a student loan, it’s a bit of a hassle to pay for my studies. This job also allowed me to escape elsewhere and see my colleagues. “Because of his anxieties during this confinement, the student had several attacks of eczema which ended up at the doctor.
Anguish for the future
All our interlocutors describe a strong anxiety about the future. “First of all, there is a fear about the labor market and employability,” reports Fanny Sauvade. “Some even ask the question of the validity of their diploma. Finally, some question the meaning of their studies or future profession with regard to this health and environmental context. For the psychologist, these anxieties were already present, but the crisis has reinforced them.
“We tell ourselves that for internships, professional life, it will be difficult,” says Guillaume. “It scares me because I don’t know what will happen when I get into the world of work. Companies no longer even take interns… ”
As for Oihana, she doesn’t look beyond January, only her first half results count. “I can’t see past it,” she says. “For now, the future is my partial and my results. I want to be sure of myself before I organize trips or outings. And even if I went on a trip, I would feel guilty about the caregivers and the people working against the Covid. “
A breeding ground for psychiatric illnesses
This context worries Vanessa Lalo since the students are at the age when psychological and psychiatric disorders are triggered, such as schizophrenia or bipolarity for example. “It is a disorder which was there, which had not yet occurred, and one enters a depression or delusions, hallucinations… We had this fragile ground and the current circumstances favor this change. “
In this difficult period, Vanessa Lalo advises to maintain the social bond at all costs, especially “when we ruminate, we have dark thoughts, we are a little too much in the conflict”. Objective: not to be isolated without anyone responding to our distress. “Do not hesitate to go see your doctor for guidance. “
To recreate this social bond, you can turn to video calls, remote games, etc. Not to mention that if a loved one is particularly worried about you, you can definitely pay him a visit. On your certificate, you must tick the fourth box, which corresponds to assistance to vulnerable persons.