THE ITALIAN APPROACH TO MENTAL HEALTH CARE OF IMMIGRANTS_ Italian Institute of Transcultural Mental Health ; La Sapienza University, Rome, Italy_ IN WORLD PSYCHIATRY

Migration in Italy can still be considered a relatively recent phenomenon, compared to other European countries. On the other hand. shown by official figures, the presence of foreigners, immigrants refugees and asylum-seekers in Italy is an increasingly important phenomenon at a social and cultural level. In some catchment areas high presence of immigrants is sufficient in itself to pose a men health problem. Nevertheless, an official policy on immigrants’ mental health has not been structured yet, there are no public men health services for immigrants in Italy and the organization of public mental health services in order to face the peculiar needs of for users, both in terms of service planning and mental health professionals’ training, is still lacking, Another aspect to be considered the existence of alternative health care systems to provide me assistance to legal and illegal immigrants in Italy. These organizations, the most famous of which is Caritas, are often of a religious kind. They divert the immigrants’ health care request towards themselves, rather than towards the national health system, and this is particularly true for those immigrants whose illegal status makes t reluctant against the contact with any official Italian institution. scientific level, in Italy the amount of empirical research on the irnmigrants’ mental health and mental health care is extremely poor, of all if compared to that produced in other European countries to the importance immigration has recently gained at the social political level. In this article, possible reasons for these peculiar 1talian phenomena are discussed.

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