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Mental Health in Italy

Over the last 30 years, after the mental health reform, Italy has led the world away from the institutionalization of mental health. Italy has begun personalizing treatments and humanizing the stigma by focusing more on individuals and their mental health.


However, the stigma surrounding mental health issues, like depression and anxiety, is still present not only in Italy but all around the world.


In Japan, suicide rates are among the highest in the world. People often do not seek help because mental health is not covered by insurance, and if they would like to find treatment, they must pay out of pocket. Not only that, but 61 percent of employers said they would never hire a person with a mental illness.


While the stigma surrounding mental health in Italy is much less severe than in Japan, it is still present, with 30 percent of people surveyed in a 2013 study saying that employers should not hire applicants with depression.


The United States has one of the highest rates of citizens with depression, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Insurance companies are expected to cover mental health the same as physical health, although there is no law that requires it yet.


Germany, on the other hand, is a leader in mental healthcare systems around the world, providing help with jobs, financial support and up to five free sessions with a therapist for you to find out if you’re comfortable with them before you begin paying.


In Italy, it has been declared unlawful for people with mental health problems to not benefit from insurance coverage. Because Italy has universal health coverage, this means anyone with mental health issues can seek treatment, but because of the stigma not everyone does.


In the previously mentioned 2013 study, 75 percent of those surveyed think people should not speak about their mental illness.


Mental illness is an issue being tackled all over the world, with no universal way to approach it. Different countries have different stigmas which has resulted in a multitude of different approaches to research, treatment and how individuals cope.


While it is easy to buy into the stigmas, it’s important to note that mental health is a part of the overall health of a person and should be taken seriously.


If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, http://iasp.info/resources/Crisis_Centres/ is a website where you can and should find help.


*This article was co-written by Mackenzie Gobillot and myself*

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