The Student Psychiatric Health program – the new name for psychiatric checks – is still struggling to gain recognition, both among students and health professionals. Announced at the beginning of February by the government, the objective of the device is to offer all students who feel the need three 45-minute sessions with a psychologist, renewable once. A month later, although still in its infancy, the system has been operational and its terms and conditions can be viewed on the online platform Student Psychiatric Health since March 10.
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Emma, 22, a student at the University of Burgundy, saw it as a ” opportunity to talk to someone outside about what worries me, without having to break the bank “. Assaulted by anxiety and exhausted by distance learning, the student heard about the device on Twitter, a few days after the platform went online. However, she regrets not having been informed by the university of the existence of a possibility of obtaining a free psychological follow-up. ” I have not received an email, nor seen a poster, she notes. And the doctors don’t seem very up to date either! When I asked my doctor to give me the device on March 17th, he had no idea what I was talking about. It was I who had to explain to him. “
“I really felt the need to get help”
Once her doctor had informed and her prescription had been obtained, Emma was able to find a psychologist via the Student Psychiatric Health platform. ” I haven’t started the sessions yet but I got an appointment for next week », She rejoices. Updated daily, the platform lists, as of March 24, just over 800 partner psychologists. Psychiatric consultations, already reimbursed by health insurance, are not included in this system.
Like Emma, all students who wish to benefit from the system must, before contacting a psychologist, contact either a general practitioner or the University Health Service (SSU) of their establishment. A step that Marion Sindezingue, medical director of the university health service of the University of Lyon 3, considers essential: ” The evaluation by a first health professional makes it possible to guide the student as well as possible and to know whether it is better to send him to a psychologist or a psychiatrist, or even to psychiatric emergencies if necessary. Emma, on the contrary, would have preferred to be able to speak to one person.. ” Having to explain yourself twice is adding an obstacle that is difficult to overcome, she believes. I really felt the need to get help, so I persevered, but I imagine that can demotivate more than one. “
A “useful, but incomplete” device
Thomas, a 21-year-old engineering student, judges the device “ useful, but incomplete “. For the young man, who has already benefited from a follow-up since 2020, going through the device would mean ” change practitioner, because my shrink does not meet the selection criteria », He explains. To be part of the partner psychologists of the Student Psychiatric Health platform, you must have at least three years of experience and accept the price base of € 30, the amount covered by the Ministry of Higher Education, for a 45-minute consultation.
Patrick-Ange Raoult, secretary general of the National Union of Psychologists (SNP), estimates this amount, lower than that usually requested by psychologists – between 50 and 80 € – insufficient. ” This device swaps student precariousness for that of psychologists, judge the trade unionist. It is a devaluation of our profession with which our union does not wish to be associated. “
Patrick Roux, clinical psychologist in Marseille and partner of the system, also fears that this remuneration will put off his colleagues. ” I volunteered because it seems important to me to help students, and because my private patient base allows me to. But it almost amounts to volunteering: 30 € for 45 minutes, it is very insufficient once we have deducted our charges, explains the psychologist. Not everyone can afford it. “