We are alarmed by an unprecedented influx of requests from teens that are saturating our psychology services
A carte blanche from Aurore Arnould, Carolina Balut, psychologists and Jaïda Elastal social worker, Family Planning.
“Sometimes I sit there for two hours, doing nothing. There isn’t much that makes me happy, not even listening to music anymore. We don’t have any more freedom, why even try to rebel? We’re only teenagers, adults don’t take us seriously. In my school, there are young people who take Xanax, or who smoke Cannabis. We want to escape reality. That’s all we do. we can do. We have no power. They just want to silence us, they forget that we are the generation that will take over! “
These are the words of a 15-year-old teenager, in consultation with her shrink. With his agreement his words are published with the hope that they will be heard. His speech reflects what we psychosocial workers have been seeing for several months, increased distress among the young people we meet. Several white cards have been published, citizen movements are emerging and a petition is circulating, our leaders seem to remain deaf, as the recent decisions of the consultation committee attest.
What we see
We are alarmed by an unprecedented influx of requests from teenagers who saturate our services, stories of disillusioned, anxious, depressed young people who lose their taste for life, stop eating, consider suicide, no longer believe in a future, cry without knowing why, have panic attacks. During our activities in secondary school, we see young people dropping out of school, extinct, almost docile, so far from the passionate and rebellious young people who give us a hard time so often. These young people tell us that they feel excluded and targeted by some adults who accuse them of being carefree, of just wanting to party, when they are more concerned than ever. They take refuge in online games, social networks, in the anxiolytics that circulate in the playgrounds. They ask us to send them to psychiatrists so that they can take medication. Are we going to have to put an entire generation in a chemical straitjacket to help them endure reality? Are we going to witness, without being able to do anything, a wave of suicide among our young people?
It is our responsibility to ask the authorities to lighten the containment measures and to allocate a special budget for the support of young people. It is vital that they have more contact with their friends, in the flesh, and not just behind their screens. Adolescence is a pivotal period when peers make it possible to make the transition between the family cocoon they are slowly preparing to leave one day and the adult social life for which they are preparing. So they hang on to their friends who become the most important reference people. Virtual contacts will never replace the physical contacts that regulate their emotional exchanges.
What is essential
It is urgent that secondary schools, colleges and universities be reopened again, face-to-face, full-time. This is necessary to make it possible to limit the dropout rate for pupils who have lost track in an inevitably disjointed teaching. It is also to ensure equal opportunities, endangered when it is at home, with parents working from home or away, with unsuitable school and computer equipment, in sometimes tense atmospheres, with parents themselves. even depressed and anxious, not to mention the exploding domestic and conjugal violence. Finally, the virtual school generates, among other things, cyberstalking, which is even more difficult to supervise since it escapes more adults.
It is essential that young people have access to extra-curricular sports and artistic activities, as well as to support groups. Sports activities or youth movements, limited to ten people, often lose all their meaning and limit access for organizational reasons. Some activities such as artistic activities are impractical in cold or rainy weather outdoors. And who would like to participate in a rainy support group? However, through words, through music, through painting, through theater, young people need to express themselves in order not to be extinguished, to share, to vibrate.
Finally, faced with the saturation of our services, we consider it necessary that funding related to mental health and youth (mental health center, family planning, PMS, AMO, homework schools, youth centers, school hook-up services ,…) Be increased to hire new psychosocial workers and provide support accessible to a larger number of young people. The same goes for the reimbursement of psychological consultations paid for by mutuals, which should no longer be limited to a limited number of sessions for the year 2021.