Mental health and loneliness of young people: SOS friendship helps you get out of your discomfort

After two years of pandemic, the mental health of 15-24 year olds has deteriorated particularly. According to a survey, 62% of 18-24 year olds have had suicidal thoughts since September 2021. Effects particularly related to loneliness. But there are solutions to get out of this mess.

“The main topics discussed during the calls are mental health and loneliness”. Volunteer for SOS Friendship, Constance Péruchot has been one of the voices since 2019, answering 09 72 39 40 50, a freephone number continuously open to people in emotional distress.

As of 2019, the proportion of 15-24 year-olds calling the association, recognized as being of public interest, has increased from 12% to 17%. In 2021 this percentage was 28%. Since the pandemic, signals about the morale of young workers have been alarming. An Ifop survey for the Jean-Jaurès Foundation shows that 62% of 18-24 year olds have suicidal thoughts since September 2021. Between January and March 2022, 6,400 visits to the emergency room were recorded by Santé Public France for these reasons, an increase of 27% compared to the previous year.

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The role of the pandemic is not unimportant. “I noticed a great fear regarding living in society and integration in a university or professional environment”, explains Constance Peruchot. Among students, some are losing hope of completing their studies due to the circumstances and lack of social interaction resulting from online courses.

“The need to call is increasingly felt by listeners, even though young people under the age of 25 express themselves much more in writing”, notes Constance Peruchot. In order to provide the opportunity to express itself in this way, SOS Amitié offers a “chat”. Through this channel, 28% of young people under 25 report suicide, compared to 18% of young people over 25. This percentage rises to 41% in e-mail messages.

Faced with loneliness, solutions exist

Loneliness is a plague that affects 7 million people in France, ie 3 million more people since 2010 according to the Fondation de France. To break the isolation, some actions are easy to implement.

“Talking about it is already acting”, the volunteer encourages. To help someone in difficulty, active listening is a first step that can make a difference. Once the link is established, “It is important not to downplay or downplay behaviors that make young people think they are in a difficult situation”advises Constance Peruchot.

Structures are accessible if necessary. For example, we find Atrap, in the 20th arrondissement of Paris, listening lines such as 3114, or the Red Cross on 0 800 858 858.

For those who want to, the young woman calls on the volunteer teams to come and strengthen. “In 2021, SOS received 560,000 calls. It is estimated that the association can only answer 1 in 3 phone calls and 1 in 7 in the “chat”.

(ETX Daily Up)

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