Mental Health Day: Destigmatize Mental Disorders and Train General Practitioners

The World Day of Mental Health, which takes place this October 10, is an opportunity to study the current state of psychiatric care in France. 12 million French people are affected by mental disorders each year.

"In France, we can not be heard". Professor Marion Leboyer, Head of the Psychiatry and Addictology Department of the Henri Mondor University Hospitals and Professor Pierre-MichelLlorca chief of the psychiatric department of the University Hospital of Clermont-Ferrand warn about the quasi indifference of the government with regard to the sector of the mental health in their book Psychiatry: the state of emergency (Ed. Fayard) Yet, explains Professor Leboyer, also director of FondaMental Foundation, "every year, 12 million French people are affected by mental disorders (depression, autism, obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia ...) or a French on five".

Mental health, this left behind

Both call for mental disorders to be finally considered a major public health issue: "we found that France spent 2% of the budget on biomedical research in psychiatry against 7% in England and 11% in the United States ", says Professor Leboyer. "We invest a lot in cancer research, screening and prevention, but we do not invest the same way in mental illnesses, so they do not decrease." A lack of consideration for these pathologies which are however "the first cause of health expenditure in France and one of the first causes of sickness".

What blocks? "Social stereotypes already," says Professor Pierre-Michel Llorca. "There is, in the collective unconscious, a kind of erroneous social representation of mental illness". Because "if the vast majority of people have already suffered from mental disorders (depressive episode, anxiety, addictive behavior ...), or knows a close concerned, it still too often considers that mental illness is dangerous, unpredictable", unmanageable. Added to this lack of knowledge is the inertia of the government. "Since the 1990s, more than 10 reports on mental health and psychiatry have been requested by successive governments," continued Professor Llorca, "The findings are the same, but none of them have taken up the case. I was even embarrassed by the words of the Minister of Health Agnès Buzyn, a doctor by profession, but during his presentation of the poverty plan stated that there was no technical progress in psychiatry. reports, but our minister has a vision that does not correspond to reality. "

Educate the population and train general practitioners

Yet the stakes are high. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), "mental or neurological disorders will affect one in four people in the world at some point in their lives." Approximately 450 million currently suffer from these conditions, which places mental disorders in the leading causes of morbidity and disability worldwide. " Each year in France, 200 000 suicide attempts and 11 000 deaths are recorded, only 1000 less than for breast cancer. Nearly 90% of victims suffer from psychiatric illnesses.

What could improve the state of psychiatric care in France? "The first measure is support for research, explains Professor Leboyer, we need to invest in innovation and research". In their book, the scientists list a series of proposals ranging from the training of health care workers to raising awareness among the general public, in particular to destigmatize mental disorders and encourage people to be diagnosed without shame. "We also need to increase the level of training of general practitioners, they are the first-tier players, but we observe that there is a heterogeneity of their level of knowledge on the subject according to the place where they studied. or their age, "adds Professor Llorca.

The High Authority for Health (HAS) also considers that "the care of patients with mental disorders, the coordination between general practitioners and other care actors (psychiatrists, psychologists, nurses, etc.) is insufficiently developed." To help them better coordinate, the HAS publishes a guide with tools to achieve three operational objectives: identify available resources (professionals, institutions, devices), exchange useful information with other care providers and be in touch ability to access counseling from colleagues, refer a patient to a psychiatric and mental health professional or general practitioner, and provide joint follow-up.

Video: Talking Mental Health (January 2020).