Patients, caregivers, young people, people in precariousness … The pandemic also has a psychological impact

The psychological consequences of the health crisis are worrying. Those suffered by Covid patients to begin with. “At least 20% of them have psychological consequences: chronic anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, depressive pathology. The neuro-inflammatory disturbances caused by the virus could be one of the determining factors ”, wrote the Academy of Medicine in a statement.

The consequences on the general population which undergoes its second confinement, then. “In Rennes, compared to the same period in 2019, we welcome twice as many young patients in pediatric emergencies [pour les moins de 16 ans, ndlr] for suicidal attacks, three times more for anxiety disorders with somatization [des douleurs physiques inexpliquées], and four times more for anorexic disorders ”, explains the professor of child psychiatry Sylvie Tordjman to AFP.

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During his weekly update, Thursday, the Minister of Health insisted on the subject. “The mental health of the French has deteriorated significantly […], with a consequent increase in depressive states observed on all socio-demographic profiles ”, declared Olivier Véran.

According to the CoviPrev study conducted by Public Health France, depressive disorders in the general population would indeed have significantly increased during this second wave, with a prevalence doubling between the end of September (11%) and the beginning of November (21 %). The most significant increases were observed among young people (18-24 year olds and 25-34 year olds), “Inactive” and the “People declaring a very difficult financial situation”, indicates agency data.

If the Academy of Medicine calls for making a distinction between the“Worry, sadness, even disarray” and “Depressive illness”, several populations seem particularly fragile. These are notably “People who are afraid for their jobs, those who have sick or dying close relatives, but also people with risk factors and who are afraid of falling ill”, explained Anne Giersch, researcher at Inserm, at Release.

Caregivers, on the front line in the face of the pandemic, “Are recognized at risk of presenting psychological disorders, in particular anxiety-depressive disorders and a state of post-traumatic stress, which underlines the need to take into account this dimension which could in the long term dissuade vocations”, explains the Academy of Medicine.

From the first wave, the psychology services were organized to come to the support of their colleagues. “Post-traumatic, death or other calls are managed internally. But these are people that we may see call on us in two or three months ”, predicted Eric Henry, president of the Healthcare Professionals Association, last March.

Read also Stress, anger, anxiety… Do not neglect the effects of the epidemic on mental health

Olivier Monod with AFP


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