the students’ distress cry

The Covid-19 health crisis has drastically changed the daily life of the French for almost a year. This is particularly the case for students, who find themselves in an unprecedented situation that is not very conducive to academic and personal development. they face new problems: distance courses sometimes of lower quality and quantity, modified evaluation measures, dropping out of school, loss of employment, difficulty in integrating into the professional environment, but also psychological distress. faced with all these constraints, the mental state of the students is alarming. in fact, the national observatory of student life published last September a study1 revealing that half of the students say they suffer from increased anxiety, even massive, and between 30 and 40% speak of distress. 34% of students say they are often or always very nervous, 28% often or always feel sadness and despondency and 16% say they feel often or permanently discouraged.

Particularly affected by the health crisis, the students evoke a “lack of motivation”, a “fuzzy future”, a “non-existent student life”, which affect their mental health. Among the most affected, students in financial difficulty (46% show signs of psychological distress), foreign students (43%) and, finally, female students (36%). Containment also has its share of responsibility. it causes demotivation and loss of social ties, which can lead to suicidal desires and acts. Note that the Covid-19 revealed and amplified already existing situations, since before the crisis, mental health was already the second reason for consultation among students.

Audition students also affected

Students in the hearing sector are not immune to this mental distress. Their lessons are given almost exclusively by video, apart from a few practicals, and this, according to the means and organization of each school. For Stéphane Laurent, educational manager and teacher at the Fougères hearing aid school, Distance courses have an advantage: “The courses are recorded online and therefore available to students who wish to listen to them again. on the other hand, it lacks the essential, exchanges between students and teachers. However, the vast majority of exams can be held face-to-face, thanks to the low numbers of promotions in hearing aid schools. in fact, future hearing aid acousticians are between 17 and 50 per promotion (they are between 20 and 100 in speech therapy).

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However, dropping out of school remains inevitable for some students. According to a survey carried out by the fnéa (national federation of hearing aid students), 85% of hearing aid students questioned declared that they had partially or completely dropped out of theoretical lessons given by video. Jérôme Bourien, lecturer at the University of Montpellier, does not deplore absenteeism, even in the first years. “We have not noticed any dropout from school among our students,” he comments. We monitor attendance and they stay motivated for their exams, which still take place. “Stéphane Laurent adds” It is difficult to judge through a screen if the pupils follow the lessons correctly or not, if the dropout rate is increasing or if they remain motivated. “

Yet the poll2 carried out by the fnéa proves that the students surveyed morally undergo this situation. Half of them say that their psychological health is not good and 70% note that it has deteriorated since November. Worse still, 71% describe increased stress caused by the health crisis and its repercussions. The consequences are worrying: 48% of them suffer from sleep disorders, 15% report feeling depressive symptoms, 15% anxiety attacks and 3.5% suicidal thoughts. However, 75% of those surveyed concerned by this distress did not take any steps to seek help and only 6% consulted a health professional. Anna Prual, president of Fnéo (national federation of speech therapy students), also deplores a weakened mental health and motivation in his comrades, a feeling evaluated through support groups and social networks.

Insufficient solutions

Faced with this alarming situation, the government announced on January 21, 2021 to offer a “psy check3 »As well as two meals per day at 1 € in university restaurants for all students wishing to benefit from them. anna Prual denounces behind the scenes: “University health services are overwhelmed; we need more psychologists who can take care of students. In fact, in France, there is only one psychologist for 30,000 students, compared with one for 1,500 in the United States, or one for 3,000 in Canada. Dylan Giran, president of the Fnéa, confirms: “This is a first step, but the measurements are missing the point. The device of two meals per day at 1 € is incompatible with the curfew at 6 p.m. and the many closed university restaurants. The psy check generates a complicated course because we have to go through a general practitioner who then refers to a psychologist. “

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The presidents of the federations of hearing aid and speech therapy students do not find themselves in government measures and share the same wish: a return to face-to-face classes, with an adapted health protocol. Dylan Giran adds: “We are responsible, we can wear the mask, respect distances and barrier gestures. When we see that high school students can take their classes face-to-face, we don’t understand. “

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