The crisis we are experiencing today is not only health-related, it is also economic and social. This is due to the measures that have been put in place by governments. In France, the government is now talking about the possibility of a third containment. This announcement only destroys the hopes of the population to return to a normal situation where all businesses would be open, where people could go to their workplace or where young people could go to school and university. Young people are the people least affected by the health aspect of the crisis. They are little affected by the disease. Nevertheless, they are strongly impacted by the economic and social crisis resulting from COVID in terms of their psychological health, learning and standard of living.
A heavy impact on the mental health of young people
The National Assembly has set up a commission of inquiry into the effects of the Covid-19 crisis on young people and according to deputies Sandrine Mörch and Marie-George Buffet they are alarming. For 4 months, they have interviewed and interviewed young people from different social, economic and cultural backgrounds. Half of the young people interviewed are worried about their mental health and one student out of 6 has dropped out of school. Depression is increasing as well as suicide attempts. Indeed, according to a study by the Fage 23% of the students had suicidal thoughts.
Young people face many difficulties in terms of following courses at a distance, loneliness, loss of future prospects and precariousness. By reading the many testimonies that can be found on social networks that we understand the extent of the damage. Indeed, one young student confided, “There is a lack of perspectives, there is the anguish of not finding internships, of opportunities [with this crisis]” while another declared that “at the beginning, I was holding on, I told myself ‘it won’t last’. But in December, it became too difficult, I really dropped out”.
Youth calling for government action
Young people feel like the forgotten ones in the management of the health crisis. They are trying their best to make the government understand the need for new measures that would protect young people from the adverse effects of the health crisis because they are afraid of the future. They challenge government officials on social networks, share their discomfort and frustrations on an Instagram account, write open letters, try to make themselves visible through the hashtag #Étudiantsfantômes or organize protests in the streets so that they are no longer forgotten by the crisis.
A government struggling to put in place adequate measures
As a result, the government is putting in place measures to address the negative consequences of the health crisis. In July 2020, it launched the “Un jeune, une solution ” plan. This plan aims to promote the professional integration of young people. On January 21, Emmanuel Macron announced the implementation of a 1euro meal plan in university restaurants for all students. Nevertheless, these measures remain insufficient, what students want is the reopening of universities so that they can end this isolation. It is in the government’s best interest to listen to them. As the parliamentary report mentioned above points out, university health services “are not sized to meet the needs of students”. Actually,there is only one university psychologist for about 30,000 students. A whole generation with mental health disorders is undesirable for the future of the country.