The government is launching a general public campaign on Tuesday to encourage the French to “talk” about their psychological state, severely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, and to recall the existence of aid by telephone and internet, which is too little known.
“Talking about it is already being treated”, ensures this campaign, organized by Public Health France and the Ministry of Health, with the idea that detecting psychological and psychiatric problems is “essential” to allow “appropriate care “.
“Should all people with disorders see a shrink? Not necessarily,” Aude Caria, director of the public news organization Psycom, said at an online press conference. For some people, listening time will suffice, while others will need to be referred to a professional.
The campaign, launched Tuesday on the internet and the radio (with three spots), will be completed “by a spot broadcast on television” and online video “from April 20,” according to Public Health France.
Its objective is “to promote the identification of the main symptoms of anxiety (irritability, feeling of panic) and depressive (sadness, loss of interest, energy) as well as sleep problems (often associated with anxiety and depressive states) through scenes of everyday life “, details the health agency.
According to surveys carried out regularly by Public Health France for a year, the proportion of French people reporting anxiety or depression has increased sharply since the first confinement and has remained at a high level since, with nearly a third (31%) of the population concerned.
“Although the issue of mental health has emerged a lot in recent months due to the health crisis, this subject is still unknown and taboo for many French people,” notes the agency.
It is also an unprecedented subject for a national campaign carried by the public authorities, recognizes Public Health France, except for a precedent in 2007 relating to depressive disorders.
“Without trivialization or excessive dramatization of the subject”, with a “benevolent” tone, the campaign encourages “to talk to those around you or to your health professional (…) as soon as these symptoms are intense, settle in the duration and prevent us from carrying out our activities of daily living “.
One of the radio spots shows a stressed teleworking employee, feeling overwhelmed. A scene intended for social networks shows an exchange on messaging between a young woman offering “a video tonight with friends” and a young man glued to his sofa, who “does not really want”.
To find help, the campaign refers to the toll-free number 0 800 130 000, created by the government to answer all questions related to Covid, and which gives access to a psychological support service, which only 17% of interviewees know. It also directs to the Psycom.org site, which offers “reliable, accessible and independent information (…) on mental health and psychological disorders as well as specific content on mental health and Covid-19”.
Messages intended for 18-25 year-olds refer more specifically to Fil Santé Jeunes, which offers free and anonymous listening by telephone (0800 235 236) and by chat.