“My anxiety attacks, in general, take the form of choking, I have more and more difficulty in breathing, I am no longer able to move or speak”, describes Maé, 21. This business school student comes once a week to the high school student relay in the 13th arrondissement of Paris. A psychological consultation service, which is seeing an increase in the number of visits, due to the Covid-19 epidemic and its consequences.
“When I’m in the street, I kinda feel like I’m in a film shot, when you zoom in on the person’s eyes and I feel like you shouldn’t ‘I am touched, that I must not touch, explains the young woman. I think about it and I’m like ‘oh no, I touched that box of rice and finally I didn’t take it, is that going to have an impact later? I will pass it on [le virus] to someone, I don’t want to be responsible for hurting people ‘. “
Dominique Monchablon is at the head of the high school student relay where Maé comes to consult. The psychiatrist sees more and more young people: “There is an increased prevalence of anxiety disorders, depressive disorders and suicidal ideation, it has doubled, it is a considerable jump. These depressive and anxious reactions are strongly connoted to the health crisis and to the impact of different stressors. “ The professional warns of the importance of taking charge of these ailments before they get worse, especially when we know that “18-25 years old represent an age group where 75% of psychological and psychiatric disorders settle”.
“The big question is how to deal with this distress, to prevent this psychological suffering from prolonging into illness, settling into unrest.”Dominique Monchablon, psychiatrist
High school pupils and students have to take courses at a distance, far from friends, stay confined in small apartments, they no longer have odd jobs to earn money and above all they worry about their future. “It’s very frustrating as a situation, because you feel like you don’t control anything”, says Énora, in first year at the Lycée Henri IV.
“This situation called into question many projects that I had, for example to spend a semester abroad, to have an English diploma. Moving forward, having new projects, new goals, it’s very complicated . I don’t eat anymore, I have a lot of insomnia, anxiety, panic attacks, vomiting “, continues the student.
“All of the health rules, the restrictions we have, the confinement, it’s becoming hard to manage.”Quentin, student
It is also difficult for Quentin, he is in the preparatory class of the grandes écoles:
“It’s anxiety. Already, the course in preparatory classes is a psychologically hard fear, there it brings permanent stress in addition to the one we already have.”
To prevent these young people from developing mental illnesses, prevention must be carried out in high schools and universities, this is what the head of the Dominique Monchablon center recommends. For the psychiatrist, the authorities are not doing enough.