A Dracénoise at the head of the association “France depression”

Depression (1) is still often considered a taboo subject. Many are confronted with it, but few manage to name it. This devastating malaise that overwhelms you and makes you sink – to the point of not being able to get out of bed for some – has become a real public health problem.

Unblock sensitive situations

Appointed national president of the association “France depression” (1) after having created the Var branch in 2021, the Dracénoise Christine Villelongue is convinced of this: “Depression is a disease that is developing at breakneck speed. A subject that will evolve and that needs to be addressed. According to figures from the World Health Organization (WHO), in 2026, one in six people could be touched.”

At 57, this woman of quiet strength, former prison administration staff and retired since confinement, now devotes a large part of her time to people in whom psychological distress has invited itself… Without warning.

Would she have been touched by this scourge? “Not personally, but unlocking a psychological situation with my loved ones, my colleagues, I’ve always been sensitive to that. The future is dark, the world is violent, aggressive. As part of my work, I developed training on managing stress and conflict that affected staff.”

The health crisis has caused the figures to explode: loneliness, isolation, job loss, companies in difficulty… The successive confinements have had serious consequences. Cases of anxiety and depression have increased by 25% worldwide due to the pandemic.

“During this period, I looked for what I could bring to society, what I could leave behind.. I typed the word depression on the internet and I created the Var branch, with three listening locations in the department” (see opposite).

At the same time, Christine Villelongue created her own business in coaching and personal development, and continued her training with prison administration staff in Paca.

“We do good by doing good to others”

“Helping others is my driving force, confides with a broad smile the one who is also the mother of two daughters. It’s in my DNA. I can’t stay focused on me. And then, by doing good to others, you do good to yourself.”

The listening skills are not given to everyone, the association is always looking for volunteers.

But you don’t have to be a “listening” to provide support: “There is no advice to give to people who sink into depression, you have to let them speak, guide them by respecting their opinion and not be judgmental. This allows patients to open up and to entrust.”

Benevolence, attention, support and listening are therefore the key words. “Depression is a subject that affects people, ill-being, people’s lives, it must be taken into account and developed. My mission is to convince politicians and public health actors that together we can get there.”

2. Depression (or depressive disorder) is a common mental illness which, through its mood disorders, greatly disrupts daily life.

1. The national congress of the association was held on October 7, 8 and 9 in Nancy (Meurthe-et-Moselle).

A Dracénoise at the head of the association “France depression”