On Thursday 8 July, during our “Parlons App” session, Mathias Zemiro, our Project and Customer Experience Manager, co-hosted a webinar dedicated to student well-being with Daphné Argyrou, Prevention Coordinator at Nightline France.
Because improving the lives of students is part of what motivates us on a daily basis, we wanted to take an interest in this important issue.
Discover in this article the key learning of this session 👇
🌙 About Nightline France
Nightline France is an association founded in 2016 with the aim of freeing the word on mental health issues among students.
Nightline France carries out numerous prevention and destigmatisation actions, including:
- A helpline for students
- A directory through which students can find the best resources based on their criteria (proximity, language, status…)
- Actions on university campuses to raise awareness of mental health issues
- Training courses to raise awareness among university staff, to propose means of action and to help identify warning signs
🤫 Student mental health: a taboo subject
The mental health crisis has always existed: it was present before the health crisis of 2020-2021, and will still exist afterwards.
Contrary to popular belief, student mental health is affected by a wide range of factors: loneliness, anxiety, suicide, school, family, sexuality, bullying, and more.
The majority of students are not aware that health care resources exist on their campus. Similarly, and often due to lack of budget, university health services are often saturated. Some students find themselves waiting in line for one or two months before being able to benefit from free consultations.
The Nightline France listening service, which received twice as many calls in 2020 as in 2019, allows students to express themselves to a trained person and to be directed to the most appropriate professional: BAPU, psychologist.
👨🎓 Making the first step towards students is crucial
Students are often reluctant to talk about their mental health. To make them aware that they can talk about it, it is essential to let them know that help is available.
Nightline France reaches out to students via digital channels (social networks, podcasts, through influencers…) but also relies on partnerships with educational institutions in order to be referenced.
For example, the University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne refers to the Nightline directory and listening service to encourage its students to turn to the association, the only French listening service entirely dedicated to students.
But contact with students is also established on site. The presence of stands at the beginning of the academic year on campus, interventions in lecture halls, and awareness-raising weeks with fun games are recommended to learn to express oneself freely about one’s mental health.
🙍 How can students dealing with mental health issues be spotted?
Nightline France offers training to identify students who are unwell, and to take action if necessary. Behavioural changes are the most obvious indicators of ill-being:
- Sudden absenteeism of a student, including in distance learning
- Sudden lack of hygiene
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Verbal talk about the inevitability of life
🏫 What actions should be put in place in your school?
Awareness of students’ distress is a first step, but action and the establishment of mechanisms to help them are essential. Showing students that they should not be afraid to speak out is a real job.
- Communication: remind students that free psychological support exists, which is listed in the Nightline France directory, and direct them to the helpline to relieve congestion.
- Events: events (interventions, games) led by volunteers (often former students) around mental health help to destigmatise the subject of mental health.
Training for staff, teachers, students and associations to identify and support students in distress.
For Nightline France, the implementation of comprehensive systems is part of a strategic plan that must be supported by the highest level of the institution’s hierarchy. There are many examples to be taken from institutions in Quebec or the United Kingdom, for example, where the impetus is given at regional or even national level.