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How to find mental health support in France

By Jean
Reading Time: 3 minutes
mental health support in france

The excitement of living and studying in France can also bring challenges, including stress, culture shock, and loneliness, which may impact one’s mental health. Thankfully, France offers various mental health support services designed to assist everyone, including international students, in navigating these difficulties.

Here’s your guide to accessing mental health support in France, ensuring you have the tools to thrive during your educational journey.

Mental Health Support in France

Mental health support in France range from psychological support and psychiatric care in hospitals to private therapy and counselling services. The French healthcare system provides coverage for mental health services, making them accessible to residents, including international students enrolled in the system.

Accessing Mental Health Support

Access to mental health support in France is either free or low-cost. For those enrolled in Sécurité Sociale (SECU), costs can be fully or partially reimbursed for psychological consultations and psychiatric treatments upon recommendation by a médecin généraliste (general practitioner).

A typical consultation with a psychiatrist or psychologist in France costs around €50, with SECU potentially reimbursing up to €40. It is advisable to consult with your complementary health insurance (highly recommended in France for broader coverage beyond SECU) to ascertain if your policy includes mental healthcare services.

SECU offers a directory of licensed therapists, some of whom provide sessions in languages other than French. To find a therapist, you can visit: https://monsoutienpsy.ameli.fr/recherche-psychologue

mental health support in france

Distance Mental Health Support

In addition to traditional support, several digital resources are available for those seeking mental health support in France:

Apps

In France, there are several mental health support apps available that cater to various needs. For example, BetterHelp offers text, phone, and video counseling options, while TalkSpace connects users with therapists for messaging and live video sessions. Additionally, Bloom focuses on self-guided therapy through interactive videos, journaling, and mindfulness exercises.

Platforms such as Doctolib offer the convenience of finding and booking sessions with mental health professionals online, including video consultations, which can be particularly helpful for those with busy schedules or living in remote areas.

Each of these apps has its unique approach and pricing structure, so it’s worth exploring to find the best fit for your needs​.

Helplines

For immediate assistance, France has several helplines:

  • SOS Help: Provides emotional support in English, available at 01 46 21 46 46.
  • SOS Amitié: Offers emotional support for those going through difficult times, available 24/7 at (09 72 39 40 50.
  • SOS Homophobie: Offers legal counsel for victims of homophobia, contactable at 01 48 06 42 41 for French-speaking support.
  • Suicide Écoute: Offers 24-hour support for those in distress or contemplating suicide, reachable at 01 45 39 40 00.
  • Fil Santé Jeunes: For young people up to 25 years old, providing confidential support from health professionals, contactable at 0800 235 236.

Many hotlines are listed by the SECU here: https://www.santepubliquefrance.fr/a-propos/services/aide-a-distance-en-sante-l-offre-de-service

mental health support in france

Bureaux d’Aide Psychologique Universitaires (BAPU)

For international students in France facing psychological challenges, counselling centers known as Bureaux d’Aide Psychologique Universitaires (BAPU) provide consultations with psychotherapists and social workers. These consultations are covered 100% by the SECU and health insurance funds. There are no upfront costs for students who seek this assistance. The number of sessions is not limited; support is provided as long as the student feels the need for it.

Find BAPU near you here: https://www.etudiant.gouv.fr/fr/besoin-d-une-aide-psychologique-1297

Reach out and stay connected

If you are experiencing loneliness while you’re studying in France, know that you’re not the only one. It’s a common experience to feel out of place or homesick. It’s important to have a support network around you and good friends you can spend time with. 

While we can’t offer professional mental health support, we’re committed to helping students as much as we can to live their best lives while studying in France. Our support does not stop right after your arrival in France. So, if you feel lonely and don’t know who to talk to, feel free to contact our team. We’ll be happy to provide you with information about activities or events in your city, tips for making new friends, advice on adjusting to your new life in France, and help you find local support so you don’t feel alone.

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