Numbers that worry. And they need to be addressed. They are those related to depressive and anxious symptoms in young people. One in two boys suffer from it. This is what emerges from a recent survey on the mental health of young people during the pandemic. It involved a sample of over 7,000 students from 9 high schools in the city of Brescia and the University of Brescia.
The outcome showed a high frequency of depressive and anxious symptoms (respectively, in 43% and 47% of the interviewees) above the threshold of clinical interest and the presence of impulsive and maladaptive behaviors (in particular self-harm, food, alcohol and drug use).
On the basis of these data, a new project is starting these days coordinated by the Irccs Istituto Centro San Giovanni di Dio–Fatebenefratelli of Brescia with the University of Brescia, the Asst-Spedali Civili, the Social Cooperative Society Network, the Itaca Association , the Regional School Office of Lombardy Office IV Territorial Area of Brescia. Rossi: «We cannot know exactly how much Covid-19 has affected the mental health of these young people, however the results that have emerged have allowed us not only to have a clearer picture of the psychological well-being of Brescia students following the pandemic, but also to have precise indications regarding which aspects of mental health are most compromised for young people» explains Roberta Rossi, head of the «Psychiatry» Research Unit of the IRCCS Istituto Centro San Giovanni di Dio–Fatebenefratelli of Brescia.
EMBED [Read also]This two-year project financed under the Cariplo «Attenta-mente» tender, responds to the growing psychological suffering of young people and develops a series of actions aimed at students, teachers and parents to the implementation of awareness-raising and prevention courses on the subject of mental health, as well as the promotion of group psychological and psychoeducational interventions for young people at risk or presenting situations compatible with the so-called Common Emotional Disorders.
Dr. Rossi comments: «The characteristics that emerged as the most relevant can be classified in that category known as Common Emotional Disorders, very frequent pictures in the general population and in the clinics of general practitioners. These are mild or moderate states of anxiety or depression, panic attacks, sleep disorders, obsessions, phobias, somatoform disorders and sub-syndromic forms of emotional distress. Their high prevalence and their impact on the functioning of the individual should not be underestimated, moreover, sometimes, Common Emotional Disorders represent the first manifestation of a major psychiatric disorder. Despite the high prevalence, public services have difficulty intercepting these disorders”.
The project will propose prevention and awareness courses on mental health through the learning of emotional regulation strategies aimed at high school students in the province of Brescia. Furthermore, training courses for teachers and psychoeducational interventions will be activated in parallel aimed at providing elements of psychoeducation and coping strategies for moments of emotional difficulty aimed at young people at risk or presenting situations compatible with Common Emotional Disorders. The psychological well-being of minors is also one of the priority themes of the Cariplo Foundation for 2023, which in fact already provides for a new tender in early spring, with a budget of 3.5 million euros.
«Faced with the growing malaise of young people, the Foundation has put resources into the field to promote projects of recomposition in the area, capable of connecting different skills and different subjects around the problem. The local response has exceeded expectations, both in terms of quantity and quality of the proposed projects, and for this reason we have decided to increase the available budget in 2022, bringing it from 2.5 to 5.2 million euros» comments Giovanni Fosti , president of the Cariplo Foundation.
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