Impact of pandemic on children’s mental health to be studied in France –

The two-year pandemic has put a strain on the mental health of the youngest, but there is not enough data to create an adequate response, according to Public Health France, which launched a national survey on well-being on Monday. children. May 2.

The study, called Enabee, aims to take stock of the mental health of children in France, which can be used by the authorities to create and implement appropriate actions.

“The health crisis has impacted the mental health of the youngest children and has demonstrated the need for care and prevention actions based on solid data”, declared Geneviève Chêne, director general of Public Health France supported by the ministries of health. health and education.

Currently, there is no official data concerning the youngest and it is “essential to have indicators”, says Chêne.

In France and other European countries, confinements, school closures, lack of socialization and the wearing of masks have damaged the mental health of children, causing anxiety, behavioral problems, learning difficulties and sometimes even suicidal thoughts.

“In all the consulting rooms in France, in pediatric emergencies, we have seen hundreds of children in a state of discomfort, whether young or old, with negative thoughts, suicidal ideas, as we have never seen. never seen in France,” he added. Professor Christèle Gras-Le Guen, member of the scientific committee of the survey, on France Info Monday morning (May 2).

It is therefore necessary to assess the extent of the situation, “first to understand the possible difficulties they may encounter and to be able to prevent them as quickly as possible. Second, put in place actions to encourage healthy behaviors before entering adolescence and adulthood,” continues Chêne.

The survey will be conducted in schools between May and June 2022, and nearly 30,000 children from 600 randomly selected schools, from kindergarten to kindergarten, will be interviewed.

Children’s mental health is a concern in other parts of Europe

The mental well-being of children and adolescents is not just a concern in France. Last March, the World Health Organization (WHO) launched a program in partnership with the Greek Minister of Health to promote quality mental health care for children across Europe.

“While the pandemic has affected all members of society, it is the most vulnerable groups, especially children and young people, who have suffered the most,” said Dr Hans Kluge, Director of WHO Europe. .

The WHO also points out that the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine contributes to the deterioration of the mental health of children and adolescents, which are crucial periods of human life.

“The experience of armed conflict, war, forced displacement or family separation can have negative and often lasting consequences on the mental health of populations, particularly among vulnerable groups such as children and adolescents,” says the WHO.

In partnership with the Greek Ministry of Health, the WHO program is expected to offer “concrete measures and solutions to improve and promote their mental health and the quality of mental health services available to them”, said Hans Kluge.

In January, the EURACTIV network assessed the mental health situation of younger generations across Europe. Although there were considerable national differences, a common thread was that mental health issues, suicidal thoughts and suicide were on the rise among young people, and that governments were completely unprepared and lacked the resources to deal with it.

In France, the first results of the survey are expected by the end of 2022.

[Edited by Alice Tayor]