“Psychiatric sectors are even more under stress”

Frank Bellivier, ministerial delegate for mental health and psychiatry, analyzes the consequences of the confinement period for the psychiatric sector.

Are the French worse off after almost two months of confinement?

Psychological suffering arose in the general confined population and the need for care has increased overall. The Public Health France barometer and the Coclico survey conducted by the Institute for Research and Documentation in Health Economics give a fairly interesting picture, with an increase in depressive symptoms, anxiety symptoms, addictions, and to a lesser extent. measures suicidal thoughts, even and the National Coordination Center of VigilanS centers has not yet reported an upsurge in suicide attempts. There were also waivers of care during this period. We recover patients who have not had optimal care.

Many professionals describe an increase in the number of psychiatric patients since the end of confinement. Do you share this observation of a “second wave” which is psychiatric?

The psychiatric sectors were under great tension even before this crisis. They are even more so now, it seems obvious to me. But the situation is very heterogeneous according to the territories and the establishments. Since the end of confinement, we have noted a significant increase in the activity of psychiatric emergencies in Ile-de-France, where the situation is very difficult, but also in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, part of the Pays-de-la -Loire and New Aquitaine. In the Paris region, and particularly in Seine-Saint-Denis, patients cannot find a hospital bed when they need it. On the other hand, other territories, such as Occitanie, Center-Val de Loire, Hauts-de-France or Martinique did not particularly alert us at this stage.

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How to explain this increase in activity?

There may be, a little more than usual, first psychiatric decompensations. These new cases, the proportion of which cannot yet be measured, are difficult to interpret. We can summon the psychosocial stressors which are linked to deconfinement and the increasing economic and social precariousness, phenomena which would affect more particularly women, people with chronic illness, those benefiting from low social support or living in overpriced housing. occupied, and those whose financial situation has deteriorated. Studies in progress even suggest that SARS CoV-2 – a virus that has a tropism for the nervous system – could play a role in revealing psychiatric pathological vulnerabilities.

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