Mental health: a new emergency that could explode
The theme was at the center of the web conference “Lockdown vs mental health: the protection of the patient in the Covid-19 era”, with the aim of stimulating the debate between patient, clinical, institutions and industry associations, to identify innovative shared solutions.
An online comparison to start again
The Covid-19 pandemic risks producing profound effects also on the mental health of individuals, as well as what has already been caused from a clinical and economic point of view. Numerous research and qualified studies show the psychological consequences and potential developments in the coming months. Among the various data, it is striking that over 300 thousand people could develop mental disorders, especially among those who have less resources and less adaptation skills. These themes have been at the center of the web conference “Lockdown vs mental health: patient protection in the Covid-19 era“, Organized by the managerial consultancy firm but provider, with the contribution of Lundbeck and Otsuka.
An initiative born with the precise intent to stimulate the debate between all the actors involved: patient, clinical associations, institutions and industry. Objective common to all the need to identify shared innovative solutions.
“The problems relating to mental health already existed before the appearance of the Covid-19. We must make the warning of the UN Secretary General to offer the expansion of mental health services as one of the responses to the “crisis” caused by Pandemia da Coronavirus. The Ministry has already issued a circular to the mental health and pediatric neuropsychiatry departments but many more measures are needed that can lead to a better taking charge of people“He said the undersengle of state to health Sandra Zampa.
The attention of the “Colao Piano” for mental health
The “task force” led by Vittorio Colao in the document “initiatives for relaunch “ Italy 2020-2022” also dedicated particular attention to the theme of mental health “.
In particular, a very relevant figure emerges: an increase in mental health investment of at least 35% compared to the current expenditure has been requested. “It is an apparently very large voice, but to understand the extent of the proposal it is necessary to give a complete picture of the entire situation – explains Prof. Fabrizio Starace, Siep president – Italian society of psychiatric epidemiology and member of the “task force” – Our country allocates mental health just 3.6% of the entire financing of the national health system. In France, Germany, the United Kingdom and other European countries, the percentages are at least double, often exceeding 10%. The 35% increase is the indispensable minimum to allow services to fully explore their function in compliance with national and international guidelines and recommendations, which are not limited to specialist visits and administration of drugs, but provide for an overall framework of the person in his relational and community context, an assessment of his abilities and prospects.
All this needs time and resources.
Among our proposals there are the institution of welfare principals with reception, orientation, support functions; A psychological intervention to support individuals and families in a preventive function to not chronicize these conditions over time is needed“.
The commitment of the institutions
“The consequences on mental health compared to the Covid-19 emergency will affect both children and adults and my first thought goes to health workers who have faced multiple responsibilities related to the care of the sick, the concern for their families and the distance from their affections For fear of infecting them – he has declared the on. Fabiola Bologna, member of the XII Social Affairs Commission, Chamber of Deputies – Politics must look at the present and the future: technological innovations and in particular telemedicine, used at this emergency phase and also for taking charge of chronic patients and with mental disorders, can be a tool of care and assistance, helping us to recover what had to be suspended during the acute phase of the pandemic and to accompany the people who needed it with cognitive and psychosocial support interventions to overcome the moment and recover a good quality of life“.
The position of the patient associations
“During the Lockdown, the services were closed and the users were imprisoned at home alone or with family members in considerable difficulty, while the people included in the structures were unable to encounter their family members, causing them a strong suffering. During phase 2 and 3 the services were partially open, but to return to having the first service, guaranteeing regulations on ignization and social distancing it is necessary to increase staff and identify new premises. There is also the fact that in recent months people have increased with psychological disorders, in particular depression, anxiety and stress.
Financial resources have been identified for all sectors to overcome this period, in particular also for healthcare. It is necessary to demand that part of them are allocated to mental health. Another element to be enhanced is telemedicine, from which both health workers and patients could benefit” he highlighted Gemma del Carlo, President of the Tuscan Coordination of the Associations for Mental Health.
“During the quarantine, some patients managed to adapt to the new situation quite easily: often afflicted by forms of fear of reality, they retired without problems within the home walls. Another category of people presented considerable critical issues, those who had their reference points outside the home, have experienced a state of prolonged crisis. Then there were inevitable relational problems within the families.
Now we witness a common effort to adapt to this new situation“He underlined Francesco Baglioni, Project manager itaca milan.
“Mental discomfort must not be stigmatized. Services must be developed, networking with the territory and above all not discriminate those who suffer from these related ailments or pathologies. The appeal we make to politics is to consider these conditions as a priority.
Those who have mental health problems, in fact, suffer the consequences at a clinical, social and economic level, with inevitable reflections on the entire quality of life” commented Luigina di Liegro, President of the Don Luigi di Liegro Foundation.
The Alarm of the WHO and the appeal of the Italian Society of Psychiatry
The World Health Organization has also launched the alarm: one of the worst consequences of the pandemic will be represented by social, behavioral and relational disorders related to Lockdown, the economic crisis and the losses that could not be metabolized for the impossibility of celebrating mourning, funeral, separations.
“The Italian Society of Psychiatry expects a wave of new cases that need psychiatric assistance – highlights the prof. Massimo Di Giannantonio, Elected President SIP – Italian Society of Psychiatry – In our clinics for a few weeks we have recorded an increase in visits and hospitalizations. Given the imminent new emergency, we ask the Ministry of Health and the regional councilors for the strengthening of mental health departments throughout the national territory to make Italian psychiatric assistance equal to that of other great European nations. It is necessary to give the right weight to the contribution of our sector in this delicate moment.
Mental health operators have not always been provided with adequate PPE; The specificity of mental health has not been recognized; We often had to make investigations in the homes of potentially infected patients without the necessary security measures; Psychiatric patients with Covid were diverted by the prompt help in our departments where other patients were not affected by the virus. All this implies a persistence of stigma and prejudice. Mental health must be reorganized, otherwise it will lead to an aggravation of the other conditions“.