« It’s tough to be 20 years old in 2020 ». New COVID-19 restrictions are having an impact on French students’ life and mental health. 

On 14th of October, French President Macron announced new restrictions in response of the second wave of COVID-19 breakthrough happening in France, impacting directly millions of students’ lives.

A night-time curfew from 9pm to 6am has been put in place in order to avoid gathering or  partying. « It means that we will not go to restaurants after 9 pm, we will not go round to a friend’s place, we won’t go out partying », the president stated on national television.

Most of university cities of the country are affected, Paris, Marseille, Lyon, Lille, Saint-Etienne, Rouen, Toulouse, Grenoble and Montpellier, as well as the many students living in. « I think that these restrictions could contribute to a decrease in the virus’ spread within the population, although, less among young people. I don’t think young people are going to respect these restrictions and they will find ways to gather. » said a French student in Annecy. 

Macron declared that « conviviality » is forbidden because the virus is more likely to spread at parties and festive evenings, affecting directly the youth’s plans, by reducing gatherings of more than six people, « unfortunately, these are vectors for the acceleration of the disease ». The president addressed this words to the French youth, here is young people’s response : « I think we just need to stop this social pressure on young people. It is not a whim but a despondency with an endless crisis. The government has been blaming “unruly young people” for months, rather than finding a way to let them study and live their student life in the best conditions by ensuring a stable mental health. »

These new constraints can have bad repercussions on students’ mental health because of not seeing their friends anymore.
As the Director-General of the World Health Organization said « Good mental health is absolutely fundamental to overall health and well-being ». He mentionned also that “COVID-19 has interrupted essential mental health services around the world just when they’re needed most. World leaders must invest more in life-saving mental health programmes  ̶  during the pandemic and beyond.” A eighteenth years old student thinks that everyone reacts differently to this crisis and the government must be on the side of those who go through it with difficulty. 

« It is certain that mental health problems can only worsen in such situation. Locked in a flat, with no possibility of joining friends and clearing your mind … Then there are reasons to go crazy. This is not a favourable context to the students’ mental health » said a French student. To ensure a good mental health, the University Savoie Mont-Blanc in Annecy, asked the establishments frequented by young people, such as bars, to make the students participate in “contests” (socially distanced of course) to make them win tickets to go to the cinemas, shows or football matches. The aim being, despite the restrictions, to allow the students to keep social contact during the day.