Background The COVID-19 pandemic has generated an unprecedented global crisis that is profoundly affecting mental health and mental health care. The aim of this study was to survey a relatively large group of Italian physicians about their perceived impact of COVID-19 on the mental health of the Italian population and about their suggestions on the best strategies to address the current and future challenges. Methods One thousand two hundred eighty-one (1,281) physicians were surveyed between November 2021 and February 2022. Results Eighty-one percent of respondents reported an increase in the number of people with mental illness presenting to their practice during the COVID-19 pandemic. Thirty-four percent reported a 26-50% increase in the number of people with mental illness in their community; approximately 33% reported a 1-25% increase; and 26.9% reported a 51-75% increase. The most commonly reported mental issues that increased because of COVID-19 were agitation, mood and anxiety disorders. Regarding the suggested strategies to address future challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic, 34.6% of respondents recommended providing psychoeducation to the general population for early detection of mental illness and developing strategies to reduce the impact of COVID-19-related stress. In addition, 12.6% of respondents suggested improving telehealth services, while 12.3% suggested the need for increased funding for community-based care. When asked about physicians' opinion on the possibility of an increased prevalence of mental illness in the next 12 months, more than 30% of them predicted an increase in stress-related illnesses, while 25.2% were more concerned about a worsening of the ongoing clinical conditions of patients with previous psychiatric disorders. However, 21% of respondents believed that people's ability to cope with the pandemic would increase in the next 12 months. Conclusions This study confirmed a strong and negative impact on the mental health of the past 2 years of COVID-19 pandemic in the Italian population. Providing psychoeducation to the general population and improving the availability of telemedicine services could reduce the impact of future challenges related to the pandemic.

Mental health in Italy after two years of COVID-19 from the perspective of 1281 Italian physicians: looking back to plan forward

Cuomo, Alessandro;Arezzo, Maria Felice;De Filippis, Sergio;De Rose, Alessandra
;
2022

Abstract

Background The COVID-19 pandemic has generated an unprecedented global crisis that is profoundly affecting mental health and mental health care. The aim of this study was to survey a relatively large group of Italian physicians about their perceived impact of COVID-19 on the mental health of the Italian population and about their suggestions on the best strategies to address the current and future challenges. Methods One thousand two hundred eighty-one (1,281) physicians were surveyed between November 2021 and February 2022. Results Eighty-one percent of respondents reported an increase in the number of people with mental illness presenting to their practice during the COVID-19 pandemic. Thirty-four percent reported a 26-50% increase in the number of people with mental illness in their community; approximately 33% reported a 1-25% increase; and 26.9% reported a 51-75% increase. The most commonly reported mental issues that increased because of COVID-19 were agitation, mood and anxiety disorders. Regarding the suggested strategies to address future challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic, 34.6% of respondents recommended providing psychoeducation to the general population for early detection of mental illness and developing strategies to reduce the impact of COVID-19-related stress. In addition, 12.6% of respondents suggested improving telehealth services, while 12.3% suggested the need for increased funding for community-based care. When asked about physicians' opinion on the possibility of an increased prevalence of mental illness in the next 12 months, more than 30% of them predicted an increase in stress-related illnesses, while 25.2% were more concerned about a worsening of the ongoing clinical conditions of patients with previous psychiatric disorders. However, 21% of respondents believed that people's ability to cope with the pandemic would increase in the next 12 months. Conclusions This study confirmed a strong and negative impact on the mental health of the past 2 years of COVID-19 pandemic in the Italian population. Providing psychoeducation to the general population and improving the availability of telemedicine services could reduce the impact of future challenges related to the pandemic.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11573/1654121
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