Pourquoi la santé mentale des Français s’est-elle dégradée en 2023 ?

Why has the mental health of the French deteriorated in 2023?

Jan 22, 2024

Mental health is a subject of growing concern , given its significant impact on quality of life. Unfortunately, recent conclusions have confirmed the persistence of the deterioration in the psychological well-being of the French in 2023. Findings which encourage us to question the underlying reasons for this worrying trend.

The current state of mental health in France

Global indicators, mainly based on monitoring data from hospitals and SOS Médecins, have highlighted a significant increase in mental disorders and emotional problems within the French population in 2023. Reports from Public Health France confirm in fact, recourse to emergency care for mood disorders, suicidal thoughts and suicidal gestures (having experienced a sharp increase since 2021) remained at a high level in 2023 .

Deterioration in mental health is particularly present among young people aged 18 to 24 . In 2021, a 20.8% increase in cases of depression compared to 2017 was recorded in this age group. These figures reveal a growing vulnerability among young people, who appear to face increasingly complex psychological challenges. This generation also places less importance on their mental well-being , with many young people perceiving their psychological problems as intractable, thus heightening the urgency for effective intervention.

Possible causes of mental health decline

The deterioration of mental health in France finds its origin in a multitude of complex factors. First, social pressures exert a significant weight on collective psychological well-being. Societal norms, often marked by perfectionism, can in particular generate excessive expectations, thus contributing to high levels of stress and anxiety.

The mental burden , whether professional (32%) or personal (50%), is also frequently the source of this psychological suffering, even surpassing trauma (27%) and situations of violence/harassment. (17%).

At the same time, elements such as unemployment, financial insecurity, the consequences of covid and socio-cultural changes can also lead to a deterioration in the mental health of the French.

A lack of individual involvement

Although the majority of French people recognize the importance of mental well-being for overall health, few of them adopt the necessary measures to manage their difficulty. In fact, only half of French people say they pay attention to their mental well-being on a daily basis, while 47% admit to not paying attention to it. A lack of individual involvement can lead to further deterioration of mental health.

Several causes can explain this situation, such as:

  • The persistence of stigma surrounding mental disorders. This phenomenon can in fact hinder the desire of certain individuals to seek help, thus perpetuating a cycle of silent suffering and an unfavorable evolution of psychological disorders.
  • The apprehension of approaching one's difficulties and confiding in oneself: 81% of French people consider it difficult to talk about it, with 73% even perceiving the subject of mental health as taboo.
  • Lack of motivation , that is to say not having the time or sufficient desire to act.
  • Lack of knowledge about what to do is also among the justifications frequently given for not taking care of one's mental health. Young people, in particular, often underestimate the impact of social life, leisure activities and a healthy lifestyle on their mental well-being.
  • The financial aspect : the high cost of consultations with a psychologist or psychiatrist can represent a significant obstacle.

Individual strategies to improve your mental health in 2024

Faced with the notable deterioration of mental health in France, it becomes imperative for everyone to adopt active measures to preserve their psychological well-being.

Normalize conversations around mental health

First of all, it is essential to break the silence and share your experiences to reduce the stigma surrounding mental disorders. Initiating open discussions within professional and personal circles can create an environment conducive to emotional expression without judgment.

Encouraging open communication and mutual understanding within social relationships can also create a vital support network . Sharing emotions and concerns with loved ones can also ease emotional burden and foster a feeling of connection.

Taking care of your mental health

Establishing mental wellness routines in daily life can also play a crucial role. Giving equal importance to mental health as to physical health by, for example, integrating relaxing activities, moments of relaxation and regular breaks can help reduce daily stress.

Get informed

Understanding the signs of psychological distress, knowing the resources available, and being aware of self-care practices can enable each individual to make appropriate decisions for their mental well-being. By developing a deeper understanding of their own mental health, each individual can indeed help create a healthier environment for themselves.

It is also essential to learn about activities and behaviors beneficial to mental health such as reducing alcohol and tobacco consumption, practicing relaxation or meditation.

In short, awareness of the deterioration of mental health in France in 2023 requires collective and individual actions. The indicators highlight the need for a proactive approach, particularly among young people. Faced with social pressures and mental workload, individual involvement plays a key role in improving psychological well-being.

References :

Public Life. (October 23, 2023). The mental health of the French will deteriorate in 2023.

Public health France. (October 9, 2023). Mental health of young people: tips for taking care of your mental health.

IFOP. (September 29, 2023). The French and their mental well-being.

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