- Without face-to-face lessons since the end of October, spending their days in a small space, many young people living in a university residence experience a feeling of unease.
- Often grant holders, they encounter financial difficulties because they cannot find a job and cannot necessarily count on the help of their families.
- In order to overcome their anxieties, they can seek a psychologist within a SUMPPS (university service of preventive medicine and health promotion). But sometimes it is difficult to get an appointment.
A drama that marked the university community. On Saturday, a student studying for a master’s degree in law at Lyon 3 tried to end his life by throwing himself from the fourth floor of his university residence in Villeurbanne. “The reasons for this gesture are yet to be determined. But the closing of the lecture halls weakens ”, reacted on Twitter Hervé de Gaudemar, the dean of the faculty of law Lyon 3. Only a minority of students were in fact able to resume some face-to-face classes at the university last week. The others continue to follow them remotely, and this since the end of October.
A situation that penalizes all students, but which sometimes affects those who live in university residences more strongly. “Their discomfort can be expressed more intensely, because they do not have the support of their family and find themselves all the more isolated. They did not necessarily have time to make many friends in the residence before the second confinement. And some did not return to their families at Christmas for financial reasons, ”observes Paul Mayaux, president of Fage. “The fact of not succeeding in following the online courses well, of preparing for exams in uncertainty, of no longer having a social life is even more difficult to live in a small room”, adds Mélanie Lucie, president of the ‘A f.
“With loneliness comes stress”
This feeling of loneliness, Lauriane, who answered our call for witnesses, experiences it: “During the first confinement, everything was simple with the people in my residence, we saw each other often. As time goes by, the atmosphere is more and more calm. With loneliness comes stress. I wonder more often about my future and it’s pretty sad. My school and my teachers do their best to make us interact, but after six months, we lose all motivation ”. And it’s even more difficult for Béatrice, an overseas student: “It’s quite confusing not seeing and speaking with anyone for several months and staying in a student apartment all the time. I don’t see the other students because the common areas of the residence are closed and people are surely a little afraid during this period ”.
In an attempt to break the isolation, the regional centers for university and school works (Crous) have recruited student referents : “1,400 referent students out of the 1,600 planned have already been deployed. They go door-to-door in residences, run Facebook groups, discuss with students, direct them to the various forms of assistance to which they can claim, ”indicates Dominique Marchand, president of Cnous (which brings together the Crous). But for Paul Mayaux, the account is not there: “The student tutors are at best two per residence. This is insufficient when they house 500 or 600 people ”. Even if physical regroupings are no longer possible, the Crous try to keep events at a distance “such as yoga or cooking classes, sophrology sessions … And concerts are sometimes given at the foot of the residence”, lists Dominique Marchand. . The coworking rooms and collective kitchens (when the students do not have a kitchenette) have remained open. And in 2021, the universities have planned to create 20,000 tutor jobs in addition to the 30,000 existing ones, in order to help students in their studies.
“There is a psychologist for 30,000 students”
If young people in student residences are more vulnerable during this period, it is also because they more often encounter financial difficulties than some of their comrades. “They are often scholarship recipients and cannot always benefit from the financial support of their parents. Admittedly, they received exceptional aid of 200 euros, then 150 euros from the government, but it is very insufficient. Because many of them no longer have a job and the most precarious are accumulating rent debts, ”notes Mélanie Luce, who asks for an increase in student grants and APLs. The use of emergency aid offered by the CROUS is also more frequent: “In October, requests had increased by 50% compared to the previous year”, indicates Dominique Marchand.
In order to overcome their anxieties, students can seek a psychologist within a SUMPPS (university service for preventive medicine and health promotion). But it is sometimes difficult to get an appointment: “There is one psychologist for 30,000 students. It is not enough at all and they are overwhelmed. This is why we are asking for health checks that would allow students to pay for a consultation with the psychologist of their choice, ”says Mélanie Luce. An insufficiency also underlined by Virginie Dupont, president of the University of South Brittany: “In my university, there are two psychologists for 10,000 students and in some others, there are none. And consultation requests have increased by 30% in recent months compared to the same period last year, ”she notes. A shortage of which the Minister of Higher Education, Frédérique Vidal seems to be aware: has decided to double the number of psychologists within the establishments, ”she said on Monday. An increase in load which will necessarily be gradual. In the meantime, the Crous have developed the vacations of psychologists. Just like the Fage: “At our 32 food distribution points, we also offer three free consultations to students who request it”, informs Paul Mayaux. Because talking about their difficulties brings them relief. At least temporary …
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