On January 9, a student threw himself from the fifth floor of his university residence in Lyon 3. For the students, this drama must absolutely draw attention to their distress in this health crisis.
“I myself tried to kill myself in November,” says Titouan, 23, who is also studying at Lyon 3. “The suicide attempt of this student therefore horrified me, but not surprised”, continues this student preparing the English Capes.
Many students reacted on Twitter following the defenestration of the student from Lyon:
A student at my university attempted suicide yesterday. The situation is untenable for the students, I am disgusted, this government is killing us, the presidency of Lyon 3 puts us in a very difficult position: almost no information, nothing for the students.
– angry girl meu (@ana_diplose) January 10, 2021
To read also: “This confinement is a real ordeal” for the students
The “last confined”
Since the start of the health crisis, “the students are the only ones to have remained completely confined. This situation lasts much longer for them than for all the other categories, which have resumed or will resume soon, ”explains Dr Dominique Monchablon, psychiatrist from the Fondation Santé des Etudiants de France.
“When we close the computer, there is nothing, it’s emptiness, we just have the silence of our apartment”, adds Titouan. Many criticize the government’s decision to keep universities closed:
When you’re less important as a student than a ski lift https://t.co/sReazfzT7X
– zou (@zoejch) January 9, 2021
A forum of students from the University of Haute-Alsace, published on January 12 on Street89, calls on the President of the Republic to take into consideration the psychological distress of the students, the “last confined”.
An “emotional precariousness”
According to Dominique Monchablon, the number of students with depressive disorders, anxiety and suicidal thoughts has doubled since the first confinement. However, the number of actual suicides has declined. “What has been tremendously protective is family, friendly and social solidarity. But it tends to crumble since the whole family except them is resuming its activity, ”the psychiatrist alarmed.
It was this progressive isolation that pushed Titouan to the limit. “I have a competition in March, it’s intense pressure. In normal times, social life would compensate for this pressure. But there, I fall into an ’emotional precariousness’. I’m lucky not to combine it with financial insecurity, but when you have both, you can get to what happened with this student. “
“Delivered to ourselves”
Universities have mobilized strongly to support their students in this difficult period, according to Dr Monchablon. But still according to the psychiatrist, “this mobilization is not enough, other health levers must be mobilized. “
In fact, the answers provided by his university do not seem “at all adapted”, and even “very impersonal” to Titouan. “We are on our own. They underestimate the problem, almost on purpose. I told my teachers about my situation by email, but they turned a deaf ear. »Many students have the feeling that no one is listening to them:
It’s so hard to be a student right now …
we are the least of the concerns of government, social services, universities …
But apparently we are the direct future of this country …
– ???????? ???????????????? ???? (@Lukau_K) January 7, 2021
“The Minister of Higher Education, Frédérique Vidal, has disappeared. Jean Castex did not mention the students during his last speech… If they only mentioned us, if they were talking about us, but then we are ignored ”, regrets Titouan.
Improve care structures
For Titouan, if reopening the universities is not an option, it becomes more and more essential “to increase the possibilities of psychological follow-up”. “I would also like it to be accessible to everyone, and not just to those who have the budget. ”
An absolute necessity, for Dominique Monchablon: “I want to sound a cry of alarm: student care structures already do not have the resources to take care of them in normal times. For the psychiatrist, it is urgent to strengthen the means and actively involve general psychiatry in the care of students, at least until the summer.
According to Dr. Monchablon, we must also use virtual consultations as much as possible to remain accessible to all students, even those who have confined themselves far from their university.
Despite everything, Dominique Monchablon wants to remain optimistic. Of course, the students will have had a difficult year. “But then the summer vacation will arrive, and they will rebuild their mental health, their social life, and even their love life …”, she assures.
In addition, the psychiatrist hopes that the health crisis which has brought “a spotlight” on the mental health of students will allow this problem to be better dealt with in the future.
If you need psychological support, the Fil santé jeunes number 0 800 235 236, free and anonymous, can guide you. This government site There are also a large number of listening services that can help you.