Saturday, December 4

Society. Depressive syndromes and loss of confidence in the future: young adults affected by Covid-19

They may be less at risk in the face of the Covid-19 epidemic, but they are experienced in a different way: according to a large INSEE study on the health crisis published on Thursday, young adults are particularly affected economically and socially by the epidemic. “Their state of mental health has deteriorated markedly under the effect of the health crisis and its social and economic impacts”, notes INSEE, which adds that in May 2020, “the prevalence of depressive syndromes has sharply increased among 18-29 year olds, while it remained stable at older ages “. It has increased by 9 points compared to 2019 to reach 19% and it is mainly carried by 18-24 year olds, for whom the prevalence of depressive syndromes has doubled during this period, peaking at 22% in May 2020, against 10% in 2019.

During the period of the second confinement, from the end of October to the end of November 2020, the prevalence returned to a level equivalent to that of 2019 for the entire population, except for those 18-24 years old (19%).

One in two young adults does not have confidence in the future

Even more worrying, the confidence of these young adults in the future is drastically diminishing. In 2020, it has never known a level so low since the Department of Research, Studies, Evaluation and Statistics (DREES) analyzed this data: the proportion of the population among 18-29 year olds optimistic for his future was 51%. “The loss of confidence is particularly marked for students,” said INSEE.

During the Economic Meetings of Aix-en-Provence last July, several economists had already sounded the alarm on the generational, economic and social disparities that the health crisis is widening. “One of the costs of the Covid crisis is to create a large intergenerational gap,” said economist Patrick Artus, for example. “Indeed, there is a direct effect which is that young people find it difficult to find a job and an indirect effect is that expansionary monetary policies drive up asset prices.” As a result, “the old get richer and the young can no longer buy housing.”

Because young adults see a bottlenecked labor market in many sectors. The change in the employment rate between 2019 and 2020 fell by 1.7 points for 18-24 year olds, by 1.3 points for 24-29 year olds, while it increased significantly by 0.2 point among 30-34 year olds. And INSEE to add: “The financial situation of the most precarious students has been weakened, due to the difficulties in finding an internship, a work-study program or a job during periods of confinement.”

This precariousness has resulted in a surge in requests for specific one-off assistance (ASP), intended for students in greatest difficulty: from April 2020, the number of beneficiaries climbed to 13,200, against 6,400 a year earlier.

Despite a decline thereafter, there were still 9,940 beneficiaries in April 2021, 1.5 times more than before the health crisis.

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