A third of students show severe anxiety symptoms following the pandemic: "Particularly disturbing figures"

One of the objectives was to assess the impact of the health situation on this public. More than 3,000 questionnaires were completed between April and June 2021. As a result, more than half of students are worried about the pandemic, seven out of ten say they are “a lot” or “highly” stressed, and a third of students surveyed (31.5%) show severe anxiety symptoms. The results of this study show that 56.6% of students are “somewhat” or “very” worried about the pandemic and that 40% showed “moderately severe” (22.4%) or “severe” (17) depressive symptoms. , 6%). Barely one in ten students showed no signs of depression. More than a third of respondents (37.5%) reported moderate (29.8%) or even severe (7.7%) insomnia.

“If they are not surprising, these figures are particularly disturbing. They demonstrate the deterioration of the mental health of our young people compared to other studies carried out outside the crisis. We see that in the midst of a pandemic, several of our students weren’t doing well at all, “says Céline Douayez, professor at the faculty of psychology at UCLouvain. Despite these results, only 29% of students said they sought help from healthcare professionals. Others cited lack of time or financial resources, or not knowing who to contact.

“To support their student community, UCLouvain and ULB have already set up significant aid mechanisms, whether psychological, financial, academic or social”, specify the two universities.

For example, UCLouvain has developed a Sentinels pilot project, which aims to train students to detect concerns in their peers, and to be able to support them. The ULB, for its part, has notably strengthened its support for its partner, PsyCampus, to increase the psychological support services for students in difficulty. The Student Social Service has also integrated the reimbursement of psychological consultations in its financial aid.

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