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The puzzle of the new “psy checks” for children and students

No more emergency room visits, dropping out of school, eating disorders … for months, several signs of the mental health of the youngest have turned red. Faced with this alarming observation, the Head of State wished to facilitate their access to psychological care. He announced that students can benefit from a “psy check” of 6 free sessions, while a package – which has not yet emerged, will allow the reimbursement of 10 sessions for children.

→ READ. Suicidal acts, depression: alarming figures on children’s mental health

These measures were initially well received by a profession which has been fighting for years for better recognition. However, the enthusiasm has partially subsided. “Free healthcare is an excellent idea, but on condition that it respects the framework of practice and ethics of the profession and that it does not turn into a medical-administrative gas plant”, advances Sylviane Giampino, president of the High Council for the Family of Childhood and Age.

“The objective seems to be achieved”

Evidence of the malaise, to date, psychologists are far from jostling at the gate to offer consultations for students, the only ones to be currently deployed. “From 1,300 to 1,400 psychologists volunteered out of a total of 70,000 practitioners. It’s not much “, considers Patrick-Ange Raoult, general secretary of the National Union of Psychologists. A figure interpreted differently by the Ministry of Higher Education. “The Minister wanted there to be no more waiting in taking charge of students. This is now the case, within the framework of a real course of care: any student who needs to see a psychologist is entitled to it, free of charge, near his home. “, defends the cabinet.

Yet even volunteer psychologists admit that their goodwill has limits. “I still have not been paid for the consultations in March”, advances Pierre Courtois, psychologist in Montpellier. Every day, he sees the scale of the needs but also the limits of the system. “I could not see myself refusing to lend a hand in a difficult moment, but I do not know if I will continue for long because it is too complicated. For example, the university does not give us an interlocutor to ensure a follow-up of the students. It is, however, essential. “

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Her colleague Sarah Vanotti shares the same questions in her Bordeaux office. She too responded present, listening only to her “Social fiber”, she who also works part-time in a child welfare home. “There are lots of things that escape me. I do not know, for example, if the device continues after the start of the school year. What should I tell my patients who are starting to return home for the summer? That we meet again in September? Mystery. “

A hide-and-seek measure

Both point to a hide-and-seek measure, especially allowing the government to invest at little cost. “We are making the effort of solidarity weigh on the liberals when in fact, what is needed is to create psychiatric positions in the hospital”, loose Pierre Courtois. “But it is simply not financially sustainable for the liberals, extends Patrick-Ange Raoult. The State reimburses, in fact, these consultations up to 30 €, which barely covers our expenses. “

→ READ. Child psychiatry launches a cry of alarm

The trade unionist also deplores the supervision of doctors. “Unlike other consultations, students first have to go to the doctor to get a prescription for three sessions. Then it is again the doctor who decides, or not, to prescribe three additional sessions ”, regrets Patrick-Ange Raoult, denouncing a system that pays little attention to the skills of psychologists.

In this context, free consultations for children are still far from seeing the light of day, warns the trade unionist: “Parents call us, but we don’t know how to tell them what it will look like”. According to the latest versions of the project, only psychologists from the nursing homes could ultimately be involved. Two hundred “Full-time equivalent positions could be created for the occasion”. But that will not happen immediately.


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