Curb the Covid-19 epidemic which is spreading at a galloping speed in France, while limiting the economic consequences and psychological for society. This is what is at stake for the two defense councils which were held on Tuesday 27 and Wednesday 28 October. In the wake of the second, Emmanuel Macron must speak at 8 p.m., to announce new health restrictions.
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Several avenues are being studied, and the scenario of a generalized reconfinement for four weeks would even be favored. This prospect worries in particular the associations of psychological support. Sleep disturbances, anoisiness, social isolation … confinement, decreed in March, had significant consequences for the well-being of the French. So what could be the psychological repercussions of new health restrictions?
"Already, for several days, we have again seen an increase in anxiety and the taking of anxiolytics in a part of the population", noted Jocelyn Raude, teacher-researcher in social psychology at the School of Advanced Studies in Public Health (EHESP) in Rennes (Ille-et-Vilaine). This increase in stress has been observed in particular since the curfew was put in place on October 17.
"The moment there are signals indicating danger, part of the population is overcome by anxiety."Jocelyn Raude, researcher
Anxiety is all the stronger "that there has been a denial in recent weeks concerning the resumption of the epidemic", Advises psychiatrist Serge Hefez to franceinfo. "No one wanted to see and hear it, because it has an unbearable side", he adds. According to the specialist, a reconfinement would therefore be "a hell of a blow to the head of the French".
If the confinement of the month of March was a more or less difficult test depending on personal situations, it nevertheless had a character "exceptional" which made it possible to make it acceptable, according to Serge Hefez. "Then it was an effort with the hope of better days", continues the psychiatrist.
For a part of the population, in particular that benefiting "good material conditions", this period of isolation could even have been a "rewarding experience", allowing for example "to meet up with family", according to Jocelyn Raude, who has carried out studies on the morale of the French coming out of confinement. To this was added the establishment of new social rituals "to find each other" through video communication tools, continues Serge Hefez.
But the impression of''exception" which won in March has now disappeared. "We have entered an uncertain temporality, with the fear of being in an endless tunnel", considers the psychiatrist. "Nobody says 'owl anymore, we're going to have Zoom aperitifs'", he smiles.
"A re-containment, it would be as if we had been asked to run a sprint, and barely crossed the finish line, we were told to start again, without having had time to breathe."Serge Hefez, psychiatrist
A form of "fatalism" and of "weariness" has settled in, adds Jocelyn Raude. Some people, especially those living alone, would be more likely to experience a further tightening of health measures. In addition, thn case of re-containment, Jocelyn Raude believes that the main fear among part of the population would no longer be so much that of the virus, but of the consequences of a new stoppage of economic activity.
"Those who work in hotels and restaurants, for example, are less likely to accept restrictions because they have already given a lot."Jocelyn Raude
Serge Hefez also mentions the risk of less acceptance of a re-containment among young people, who face "less health risks, but with major economic risks" linked to their professional integration. "They realized that they were relatively less likely to develop severe forms of the disease., adds Jocelyn Raude. So in the end, we ask a lot of them individually and collectively. " Conversely, a tightening of measures could lead to "a relief" in the elderly or at risk, more anxious by the resumption of the epidemic.
So how do you try to live well with tightening restrictions? All will depend on their nature, answer the two experts. A more flexible confinement than the first, with open schools for example, could "reduce the mental burden of parents", and reduce stress factors, according to Jocelyn Raude.
In all cases, preserving the social link, this "mattress that absorbs stressful elements", will be necessary, advance Jocelyn Raude.
"It will be necessary to try to maintain regular contact with family and friends, by digital means."Jocelyn Raude
For Serge Hefez, we must also be aware that these measures are necessary from a health standpoint, to "avoid the saturation of hospitals, the multiplication of serious cases and deaths (…), and that there are no other possible solutions". Finally, the psychiatrist invites "relativize" the seriousness of the period we are living by putting it in perspective with "the great wars and epidemics " that marked "the history of mankind".