The representation of the Reception Service in a Mental Health Center of Rome confronted with the representation of Mental Health Services in a group of roman citizens: A research-intervention

Rosa Maria Paniccia, Francesca Dolcetti, Fiammetta Giovagnoli, Cecilia Sesto


In this research study a group of roman citizens was interviewed about their expectations toward Mental Health Services (MHSs). In addition, all the nurses working in the Reception Service (RS) – seen as a symptomatic function of the whole service – of a Mental Health Center (MHC) of Rome were interviewed about their representations of citizens’ demand. The aim was to gain some information on the citizens-MHS relationship in order to deal with issues taking place in the RS of MHC. Two different textual corpora were derived from interviews to citizens and RS workers, and were analyzed by Emotional Text Analysis. With regard to citizens, an opposition exists between younger people (aged under 40), who deal with the MHS identity without a specific demand toward it, and older ones (aged over 40), who deal with exclusion and violence in social coexistence, as well as problems of young people. With specific regard to older people an opposition exists between females, who deal with the crisis of traditional family, and males, who deal with the shift of generational change due to the increasing power of money and lack of resources. All respondents ask MHSs to improve relational competence of people. In RS there is a conflict between the impossible requirement of the right answer "to all" and users’ demands which are perceived as "infinite" in their variability. There is also a "filter" function characterized by specialisms and medical treatments oriented to resolve the crisis of users, such as the case of severe psychiatric patients. However, there is a little possibility to deal with the problems of coexistence indicated by citizens, particularly those due to the crisis of the family but not those deriving from the wider social context. In summary, citizens’ demand is centered on the relationship systems in crisis, while the supply of MHC interventions is focused on the individual. In the end stages of this research study these results were discussed with both the MHS and the Department of Mental Health in which the service was located.


mental health; reception service; risk of exclusion; common emotional disorders; analysis of demand

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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