Where Italian citizens bring their help request for existential and psychophysical distress: A survey on 1,000 people

Brunella Gasperini, Massimo Galimi, Alessia Renzi, Luigi Solano


The paper reports a study investigating the prevalence of psychophysical distress as well as the use of mental health services in Italy in order to explore how Italian people face psychological problems. The population’s opinion about a possible psychological service as part of primary care was explored. Materials and Method: A specific interview was constructed and was administered by telephone to a total of 1,000 subjects, representative of the Italian population, aged 18 and over. Results: An average of 60% of the total sample reports experiencing life hardships in the last years (concerning family, work and health); an average of 67% of respondents reports some psychological and/or psychophysical symptom (headache, depression, anxiety, insomnia, etc.). About the 65% of the sample believes that these problems influence their life. Nevertheless only 41% of the sample who report these kind of problems did consult some kind of health professional. People who had consulted some specialist had chosen: family physician (25.9%), medical specialist (30.4%), psychologist (19.3%), neurologist (11.9%), psychiatrist (4.8%). 62% of the total sample expresses a positive opinion about the presence of a psychologist in the family physician’s office. Conclusion: The study suggests that in Italy the use of mental health services in the presence of significant distress is very limited. A trend to treat mental health problems in a biological and physical way is apparent. The presence of a psychologist in primary care received wide approval as a possibility of easier access.


survey; mental distress; mental health services; prevalence; Italian population.

Copyright (c) 2015

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Rivista di Psicologia Clinica. Teoria e metodi dell'intervento

Rivista Telematica a Carattere Scientifico Registrazione presso il Tribunale civile di Roma (n.149/2006 del 17/03/2006)

ISSN 1828-9363