Lhe stress of the current health crisis generates a state of collective panic. It is a new disease, with information as studies progress, and dependence on others according to their respect for barrier gestures. The causal virus taunts caregivers, mutating as soon as they can defeat it, as a criminal changes his “look” if he risks being exposed. The defensive weapon is the new vaccine. But the information seems insufficient (supply delays, slowness, side effects, degree and duration of immunity, mechanisms of action of the brands offered), after the controversies over masks and tests. However, the vaccine files guarantee efficacy and harmlessness, validated by reliable and prestigious bodies. The disease imposes social isolation, in a climate of worrying economic crisis.

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In the event of anxiety, the way to live better is to resort to actions that generate pleasure, an antidote for anxiety and a source of vital energy. However, culture and entertainment have come to a halt. The other resource is to situate oneself in time, that is to say to have a constructive link with one’s past, to project oneself into the future, and to be comfortable in one’s present by exchanging with one’s fellows in order to perfect oneself. psychologically. However, the anchoring in time is overdue. The individual cannot refer to the past, to find helping references, since it is a new disease, he cannot project himself into the future, because the exponent is at risk of death, and remains stuck in a highly anxiety-provoking present. , without treatment, without access to pleasure, and, given the blurred visibility of the vaccine, remains in social isolation. This results in psychological asphyxia generating a major depressive experience, with risk of suicide. The aggravating factors are the indefinite duration of the crisis and the future which is spiraling out of control.

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Young people find it difficult to keep up with their parents

Faced with this stress, adaptation is to practice barrier gestures, to resort to the beneficial pleasure of carrying out one’s life goals, with social contacts, depending on the possibilities, and to enjoy family life. In other cases, the individual attenuates his anxiety by other methods: denial, by not respecting barrier gestures; the trivialization of the crisis compared to other scourges; the “principles” expressed in parades; violence and degradation, provoking the “enemy virus” by challenging what personalizes it; parties bringing together hundreds of people create artificial pleasure and a distancing from anxiety-provoking reality. It is, in this case, the illusion of a world without anguish, where only collective pleasure exists, facilitating its credibility in the imagination of the participants, with violence during dispersions, because it is leaving a refuge and plunging back in the anxiety-provoking reality.

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The elderly are “overwhelmed” by the invasion of digital in everyday life. Not being in phase with the current period, this context places them in front of the depressive prospect of their end of life. They then need to connect with the present, through contact with their loved ones, and especially young people, which is impossible, hence the increase in their anxiety also because of the seriousness of the disease in them.

Adults are also in anguish, with unemployment, and financial problems, especially since they have their children, and often their elders, in financial charge. And the current world gluttonously uses speed and immediacy, and suddenly finds itself in front of a “stop” to which you have to adapt on the spot, like a marathon runner, forced to stop in full effort. And today’s world has changed so much that young people find it difficult to keep up with their parents, who are often unavailable. As a result, they look elsewhere for structuring and vital educational messages. They sometimes have recourse to media personalities, but they lose the status of model, as the various facts sometimes discredit these celebrities. All that remains for them is exchanges with their peers, but these contacts are reduced, leaving these young people in disarray, in the midst of their professional and psychological future. This isolation places them in front of their unresolved psychological difficulties, with a future marked out by selective competitions, unemployment, competition, and financial insecurity. And ecology predicts a planet in danger, their destiny being part of this future compromise.

Overcome this health and moral crisis

I propose the golden rules of the anti-coronavirus plan.

1) Creation in schools of a teaching of sanitary concepts;

2) Explained demonstration of preventive behaviors, and their protective action;

3) Demonstration of the future of an individual according or not to barrier gestures;

4) Popularized information on current solutions;

5) Access to sources of pleasure through shows providing a pleasant landmark;

6) Reports on other scourges, inspiring solutions;

7) Information concerning the difficulties and solutions found, to satisfy the contact, in particular of young people, with their peers;

8) Communication of social assistance and practical actions (childcare, visits to the elderly or isolated, delivery of meals and medicines);

9) Explain that the only goal is to “protect”;

10) In an educational and reassuring communication.

Then we will overcome this health and moral crisis, by understanding these precious messages, that is to say the fragility of the individual, the instability of the acquired, the deceptive aspect of the modern era letting shimmer a power without limits, the factitious aspect of an excessive materiality, and of individualism, rediscovering the richness of the bond, in a spirit of humility, fraternity, and hope.

Roland Béhar is a hospital psychiatrist, laureate of the Academy of Medicine and the Faculty of Medicine of Paris, professor of psychology at the university, Prince Albert 1 Prize er


of Monaco in 2012.