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Ministry of Health

Mental health

According to the World Health Organization, health concerns the whole person: not only the absence of diseases but human functioning at all levels (physical, psychological, relational and social). In this perspective, the WHO considers as essential the protection of mental health for the social realization of the individual and his overall health conditions.

This section allows to obtain information about some of the most common psychiatric disorders, autism spectrum disorders, specific learning disorders and attention deficit disorder / hyperactivity disorder.

The psychic disorders include also depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia.

The Ministry of Health dedicates an in-depth section at depression and bipolar disorder and it allows to know causes, symptoms and signs, complications, diagnosis, therapy and prevention.

The Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) defines the schizophrenia as a mental disorder presenting symptoms such as delusions, hallucinations, usually auditory hallucinations, disorganized speech and behaviour and negative symptoms (decreasing expression of emotions, abulia).

Panic attacks may come on among anxiety disorders but also other disorders (depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, disorder from the use of particular substances) and they are characterized by a sudden onset of intense fear and discomfort that peaks within few minutes with physical symptoms (sweating, tremors, palpitations, etc.) and cognitive symptoms (fear of losing control, fear of dying).

Autism spectrum disorders

The term Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) refers to a set of deficits of the social communication and social interaction that come on in multiple contexts with restricted and repetitive behaviours, interests or activities that occur in early childhood, usually around the second year of a child's life, and limit or impair its functioning.
The Ministry of Health dedicates an in-depth section on theautism and it allows to know causes, symptoms and signs, complications, diagnosis, therapy and prevention.

Learning disorders: Attention deficit disorder, dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia

The Specific learning disabilities are neurodevelopmental disorders with a biological origin that is at the basis of cognitive anomalies: these anomalies affect the brain's ability to perceive and process information efficiently and precisely. The essential feature is the learning difficulty of the main school skills (reading, understanding, writing, calculating) and they can be mild, moderate or severe, they are divided into:
Dyslexia,dysgraphia, dyscalculia.

Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder

Among the most frequent neurodevelopmental disorders there is also the Attention Deficit (ADD) / Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) which is characterized by persistent inattention and / or hyperactivity / impulsivity that interferes with the social and scholastic functioning and the development of the child.

Services guaranteed by the NHS

The National Health Service (NHS) offers free, without paying any ticket, health services for people suffering from psychosis or autistic disorder.
To find out which benefits you could obtain, visit the page on exemptions

Care treatment

The treatment of psychiatric disorders and neurodevelopmental disorders can be carried out, depending on the needs, in a more or less intensive way. The main access to the therapeutic path is the treatment at the Mental Health Center (MHC) or the Center for Neuropsychiatry of Childhood and Adolescence (NPIA) where the patient is taken in charge. At NPIA there is a team made up of a child neuropsychiatrist, psychologists-psychotherapists, speech therapists, psychometricians, etc. which carries out its work.
Although the organization of MHCs changes from region to region by virtue of the autonomy they enjoy in the organization of the ASLs, multidisciplinary teams operate in all these services consisting of, at least, one psychiatrist, a psychologist, a social worker and a professional nurse who, according to the patient's health conditions, evaluate the most appropriate therapeutic program (individual, family, group psychotherapy) and pharmacological therapy, which can be implemented on an outpatient basis, or in the most serious cases, through therapeutic programs in residential or semi-residential facilities and hospital services.

Find the facility

In this section you can search facilities dedicated to mental health on the national territory, which you can contact to receive an answer about your health need.
Structures are divided according to the type into:
• Outpatient departments for taking charge of the patient: Mental Health Centers (MHC) and Centers for Child and Adolescent Neuropsychiatry (NPIA)
• Semi-residential services: 
Day Centers (DC) open at least 8 hours per day, 6 days per week
• Residential services: 
residential structures (RS) divided into therapeutic-rehabilitative and socio-rehabilitative facilities that differ according to the intensity of health care (24 hours, 12 hours, time slots)
The methods of access to structures vary from region to region and, in some cases, from ASL to ASL. Go to the website of your ASL to find out how to book.