Impacts of lockdown and curfew on one’s mental health

Published by Alexandre G. · Published on 11 February 2021 at 17h21 · Updated on 12 February 2021 at 11h23
At the time of Covid-19-related health and economic crisis, announcing new restrictions such as curfew or lockdown have unfortunately grown ordinary. Yet, doctors and psychologists assure both scenarios to fight against the spread of the virus do not have the same impact on one’s psychology. Deciphering.

Between curfew and lockdown, psychologists have made their choice. Interviewed by Le Point, psychologists, psychiatrists and scientists agree to say curfew is less harmless on one’s mental health than lockdown. For the record, this restriction – banning trips and outings from one’s house between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. has been instated since January 16, 2021 in France.

According to doctors, “this past spring, everything was mixed up, time, space, living and working space, family, work, people on their own lacked social relationships, families have had to learn to live together 24/7 while curfew enables to keep these spaces apart”. They told Le Point that today, “children go to school, for instance” enabling parents to unwind a bit during the day.

Expert psychologists also say that distancing from one’s relatives, even one’s children, seems to be a viable solution to save one’s good mental health in these times of crisis. And curfew is the appropriate restriction. Yet, launching curfew from 6 p.m. does not always rime with psychological serenity. Since it has been instated, “anxious and depressed states as well as sleeping issues have been high” the investigation conducted by Santé Publique France between January 18 and 20, 2021 states.

Lockdown or curfew, all the same?

Furthermore, other experts are convinced curfew is only a meager compensation for one’s psychological wellbeing. “Curfew has a perverse effect making us feel like normality but excludes sociability” Jean Pralong – professor in managing human resources at EM Normandie – tells Le Point. The lecturer-scientist goes on and assure that “work sociability is first and foremost what enables to fight against depression, meeting with people for lunch or a drink, thinking as a group, putting things into perspective as well”.

But deciding on lockdown or curfew – even though it originated many debates within families – depends on elected representatives, on the frontlines of the government. Yet, even though the French cannot really have the last decisional word, Health Minister Olivier Véran regularly reminds they play a meaningful part in the fight against the spread of the virus: “if our action bears its fruits today, it carries a certain number of fruits, we will delay the deadline. Then will come better, spring, days” the minister concluded this Tuesday February 9, 2021 on Franceinfo.

According to Paris-based psychiatrist Anne Sénéquier – reached by Le Point – even though the worst-case scenario, aka lockdown, has been prevented, more than ever citizens carry a moral weight on their shoulders. “There is no lockdown, but being responsible for the increase in data weighs on the French’s minds”. With this in mind, 30-year-old middle manager Pierre tells us he no longer knows what to choose between the two options provided by the government. “We no longer what we must comply with, if truth be told, I don’t know what’s worst between lockdown and curfew. Anyway, we’re fed up with the global health context” he says.

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