The impression of crossing a long tunnel that never ends. The “Endless day”, described by Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday October 28, continues. The announcement of a new confinement for a minimum period of one month from Friday 30 adds to an already gloomy context, marked both by attacks or attempted attacks which are increasing on French soil. for two weeks and by the economic consequences of the first wave of the pandemic, which particularly affect the most vulnerable categories of the population. “We are in a singular moment in which several dangers are repeated and form a system, analysis Frédéric Worms, philosopher, author of Astonishment and resistance. Facing the event (2015-2020). These dangers test our institutions, our relationships, our emotions and leave us between astonishment and uncertainty. “
And this “Test” national could prove even harder than the first. Because the epidemic seems out of control, first of all, and “The second wave will undoubtedly be more deadly than the first”, warned Emmanuel Macron. But also because the nerves have already been put to the test. “The human being is neither made to be locked up nor to be cut off from others”, recalls the psychiatrist Nicolas Franck. A nod to history, his book Covid-19 and psychological distress. 2020, the odyssey of containment appeared on Wednesday, on the eve of the second season of the national soap opera.
The psychiatrist carried out a survey of 20,000 people in March. His conclusions in support, he paints a somewhat optimistic picture of the days to come: “Those who had a bad experience with the first confinement will experience even worse the second. And some who had lived in a more or less correct way the first could live badly the second, because they suffer the deterioration of their economic conditions, which was not the case in March. “
“Confinement is a source of anxiety for everyone”, notes Anne Giersch, director of the laboratory of cognitive neuropsychology and pathophysiology of schizophrenia at Inserm Strasbourg. The health security agency Santé publique France, in partnership with the BVA polling institute, followed 2,000 people from March to assess the effects of the pandemic on mental health. At the end of March, more than a quarter of respondents to the CoviPrev survey felt a state of anxiety, i.e. double the rate observed in 2017 (13.5%). This rate fell to 15% in June, before rising again (18% during the last phase of the investigation, at the end of September). “Anxiety, stress, depression… Confinement can exacerbate mental health problems. You have to be careful ”, warns Anne Giersch, who is however happy to “Experience” acquired by health professionals during the first confinement: “Anyone in pain can turn to the CovidÉcoute platform, which will be put back into service, continues the psychiatrist. It saves time by directing towards the right consultation. “
To thwart psychological distress, it is thus necessary to draw in winter in the lessons of spring, proposes Nicolas Franck, which indicates three precepts to be followed. “Structure your days”, first: have a program, daily goals. “Keep social contacts”, then, by phone or in person. Because confinement does not mean isolation: “We conducted a study during the first wave, which shows that participants increased their contact with their families, notably through social networks, notes Anne Giersch. One way to protect yourself is to communicate. “ Finally, continues Nicolas Franck, we must “To set a goal of confinement, a constructive activity that allows you to leave a mark, like writing, painting …”. During the first confinement, reading for example acted as a refuge and sales of books exploded as soon as stores reopened, from June.
Another reason for celebration: unlike the first confinement, the schools will this time remain open and the activity will continue “With more intensity”. “Going out to work is already an improvement for a lot of people. For many, it was a source of anguish to have to telecommute while taking care of children at home ”, recalls Anne Giersch. In spring, “Those who worked were in better shape than those who did not work”, adds Nicolas Franck.
The effects of isolation on mental health are specific to each person and strongly linked to their living environment, he continues. There is “Those who adapt and find ways to cope because they have a large residence, more favorable living conditions and a personality that lends itself to it”, lists the psychiatrist. And there are the others, “The most fragile”, “single people, students in a small studio away from their parents …”.
From a general point of view, “There is also a correlation between the mental well-being of the French and their age”, continues the pole manager at the Le Vinatier hospital center, in the Lyon suburbs. “This period of fragility weighs on young people, who are at a time when they are building their lives. The elderly have experienced confinement better: most lived in larger areas, were with their spouse or family. They consolidated their way of life, reassured themselves ”, decrypts the psychiatrist.
Unlike the first confinement, visits to nursing homes and retirement homes will also be permitted, in order to avoid “Human dramas” spring, mentioned by Emmanuel Macron, Wednesday. “The virus kills, but also complete isolation”, insists Anne Giersch, citing the example of a “Elderly person alone in their nursing home, who cannot use their cell phone: how will they communicate if people do not come to see them? “
Containment, however, is only one step. It will take “Hold on until the vaccine”, expected “In the summer”, the head of state said on Wednesday. So how do we live in the uncertainty that has surrounded us for seven months now? “We have to imagine that every disaster has an end, and that we will have to rebuild afterwards. Showing anticipation and solidarity helps to project oneself ”, considers Nicolas Franck.
“The ordeal we are going through will also be a spiritual battle, thinks the philosopher Frédéric Worms. This pandemic reminds us of the meaning of life. It will be a question of not letting ourselves be overwhelmed by such a great danger: our own discouragement. Let’s fight against panic. “ The “Resistance”, an ambitious program to occupy the weeks to come.