This time the weather is gray. After the spring confinement which took place under the sun and an unexpected heat, the second period of isolation started Friday, October 30 promises to be less pleasant. This gloomy weather comes on top of the weariness of constantly being confronted with the reality of the coronavirus pandemic which has agitated the world for almost a year. In short, the impact on well-being and mental health is not negligible.
“The deterioration of mental health is the second short-term risk of the epidemic situation”, confirm to RTL.fr Enguerrand Du Roscoat, head of the mental health unit at Public Health France. During the last confinement, the body had launched a survey dedicated to these questions. The results highlight a high rate of anxiety (26.7%) and symptoms of depression (19.9%) at the start of confinement among those questioned, figures which decrease over time but remain higher than normal (around 13%).
“No doubt that these anxiety levels were not related only to the confinement itself, explains Enguerrand Du Roscoat. There was also the epidemiological situation and fear of the virus itself. “
For this second confinement, other mechanisms are at work: the situation is no longer new and the virus is more familiar. “People are exhausted and tired of being in constant hypervigilance, advance psychologist Stephany Pissolo with RTL.fr. Not to mention the sadness and even the despair they feel. There, we are on a much more intense emotion, because we despair that one day we can find a normal life. “Faced with all this, the two professionals recommend to put in place some strategies not to give in to depression.
Who says reconfinement, says return of teleworking for many employees. So as not to have a series of monotonous days, Stephany Pissolo recommends, as during the first confinement, to set up “decompression airlock”.
“The important thing is to give rhythm to the day, to take a shower in the morning, to dress as if you were going to work, give yourself breaks, she explains. At noon for example, what is important is to take a real break: we eat properly, we relax, doing something else. “In the same perspective, Enguerrand Du Roscoat underlines the need to install a routine with, in addition to work, leisure activities. Cooked, sport, creativity…
“We must maintain a healthy lifestyle, good nutrition habits and continue physical activity,” he explains, relying on advice from the World Health Organization (WHO).
Do not isolate yourself and maintain links with colleagues, friends
Another important point: maintain the link with his relatives, even if, according to Stephany Pissolo, it may be all the more difficult during this second confinement. “People saturate on screens, they have more and more difficulty in doing meetings by Zoom, we feel that it creates frustration, she explains. But we must encourage them to do so, we have no choice, we must invite them not to isolate themselves and to maintain links with colleagues, friends, and organize coffee breaks. “
Even if “the work must continue”, many people are in difficulty, this is the case of traders whose the activity deemed non-essential had to close or populations which, because of the economic crisis, find themselves in great precariousness. “There may be an impact of the financial situation of households on mental health”, explains Enguerrand Du Roscoat of Public Health France. Added to this is the uncertainty of the future and the difficulty of projecting yourself: if you need to confide in yourself, several tools are at your disposal.
Several listening numbers exist, all dedicated to specific issues. Website Psycom.org offers a long list. Among them, the one that the government has put in place for caregivers: directly confronted with the disease, and sometimes at death, they are among the populations most exposed to the risk of anxiety and depression. To help them more specifically, there is a toll free number: the 08 05 23 23 36. It is anonymous and free, and accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
For the general population, another toll-free number is accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 0 800 130 000. Once you’ve dialed the number, it guides you to the most suitable help, including “medico-psychological emergency cells”, explains Enguerrand Du Roscoat. But sometimes a simple telephone conversation is not enough: “some people need eye contact”, underlines Stephany Pissolo.
As noted by the National Union of Psychologists on his website, according to a decree published on Friday October 29, psychology offices can always welcome their patients. A major difference with the first confinement where online consultations were the only possibility considered. However, if you do not want to travel in the midst of an epidemic, it is still possible to teleconsult a professional, most of them offer support by Skype or Whatsapp.
During the spring containment, Stephany Pissolo thus created a platform dedicated to free remote psychological care in times of coronavirus, covidecoute.org. Over the entire period of confinement, the 250 professionals involved in the project received 1,700 calls. A service that she is considering putting back in place with her colleagues. The site also offers resources for dealing with the anxiety of isolation, like the meditation exercises always online and available.