“So that turning 20 in 2021 is less difficult than in 2020”

Tribune. For a year, the health crisis has produced its devastating effects in our society. Young people, like every time a crisis strikes, are the first victims, and are the ones who will bear the long-term consequences. But beyond that, this crisis puts a spotlight on the entrenched failures of our policies aimed at young people.

Weak consideration of their mental health, the social spaces intended for them, their involvement in decision-making spaces, and finally the weakness of social protection nets. While cyclical measures through the 1 young, 1 solution plan are obviously necessary, structural measures must be implemented so that turning 20 in 2021 is less difficult than in 2020.

Waiting lists

With the Covid, young people, like the rest of the population, are forced to limit their social interactions. However, if such a situation weighs on the morale of the entire population, young people, and in particular students, are a particularly vulnerable public, especially since this situation is not new: 15% of between them showed major depressive signs even before this crisis.

For lack of sufficient staff in school and university medicine services despite a clear need for several years, many young people wishing to seek psychological support, for example, cannot benefit from it.

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The same goes for the screening and support of mental disorders that frequently appear in adolescence. The understaffed child psychiatry services are forced to use the waiting list system. In the period of crisis that we are going through, this system is tested by an anxiety-inducing atmosphere conducive to the onset of pathologies or their aggravation.

These findings call for rapid and lasting human and financial investments in favor of school and university medicine and child psychiatry.

Beneficiaries or victims

Beyond the purely medical aspect, the social isolation experienced by young people occurs at a pivotal period in the construction of their social identity. Deprived of direct interactions, prevented from exercising a leisure activity (sport, culture, associative involvement, etc.), they are deprived of places of expression, emancipation, and escape. For those who have left the family home, loneliness is experienced in the restricted space of often cramped accommodation.

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