“Psychological suffering still remains misunderstood, even despised and therefore unspeakable”

HASAt the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, we endured over a year of restrictions and uncertainty; felt the fear of losing our elders; pities teenagers deprived of their youth; and seen young children disrupted in their learning about life and social relationships. So many traumas that the French would have done well without, but which will at least have had the merit of highlighting the issues of mental health.

Faced with this unprecedented situation, speech was partially freed up on the psychological suffering of each. Suffering from isolation, experiencing moments of sadness or anguish, this is what many of us have experienced, this is what we have finally been able to talk about. And it is thanks to this listening and this new solidarity that many of us have been able to face these trying times.

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At the institutional level too, initiatives have multiplied to provide support and comfort to isolated French people. Despite this collective fight, waged for many months, the psychological suffering nevertheless remains misunderstood, even despised and therefore unspeakable. Today, it is essential to break down prejudices in order to allow access to care.

Inadequate funding for psychiatric research

The depression barometer carried out in September 2021 by the CSA institute with the National Union of Families and Friends of Sick and/or Mentally Disabled People (Unafam), the Pierre-Deniker Foundation and the Janssen France laboratory has indeed taught us that nearly half of people with depression do not talk about it, and that 62% of them feel that their illness is not understood by those around them.

This lack of consideration for people with depression reveals above all a lack of knowledge about the extent of this disease. This survey shows that 25% of French people have suffered, are suffering or will suffer from depression. One in four French people! Among them, only 33% benefit from follow-up by a health professional.

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Why ? Because funding for psychiatric research is still insufficient in France: twice as low as for other medical disciplines. Because we lack specialists to support patients with depression. Because 30% of positions in psychiatry are not filled in public hospitals.

Urgency of taking depression into account

Finally and above all, because sick people are afraid and ashamed to speak. This isolation and this silence prevent them from being oriented and cared for properly. The suffering of isolation reinforces their initial psychological suffering. It’s a vicious circle that needs to be broken. By 2030, according to the WHO, depression will be the leading cause of disability worldwide.

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