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EACEA National Policies Platform: Youthwiki


7. Health and Well-Being

7.5 Mental health

1.National strategy(ies) 

2. Improving the mental health of young people National strategy(ies)

1.National strategy

Mental health interventions are aimed at all citizens, although there has been a strategy to promote mental well-being in children, adolescents and young people adopted with an agreement between the Ministry of Health, regions and autonomous provinces through the national prevention plan, in 2014. The 2014 PNP actions were re-proposed in the 2020-2025 one (Cf. paragraph 7.4).

The 2014-2018 National Prevention Plan identifies five macro-objectives including “Investing in the well-being of young people” in a logic of seeking psychophysical and emotional well-being by promoting the adoption of healthy lifestyles and refusal behaviours towards any form of addiction. The main strategies identified are:

  • Develop a global approach through integrated and interinstitutional strategies (health system, social system and school world) to enhance/promote, in and out of school, the personal skills of young people in terms of self-esteem, self-efficacy and resilience;
  • Develop the creation of integrated teams and define pathways for the diagnosis and early care of subjects in pre-adolescent, adolescent and youth at risk of mental distress and in order to prevent mental distress and psychiatric pathology in adulthood; 
  • Develop universal interventions aimed at all groups present in the school setting by involving young people in preventive programs that promote awareness of the benefits deriving from healthy lifestyles, the risks associated with substance use/abuse and that address only the fight against bullying and violence; 
  • Develop specific interventions, in or out of school, aimed at groups at risk due to particular social or economic conditions. 

The central objective of the national prevention plan proposes as the main elements:

  • Strengthen the resilience skills and promotion of personal and social empowerment processes;
  • Promptly identify those with emotional and/or behavioural problems and social problems.

2.Improving the mental health of young people

The National Prevention Plan defines the health objectives for the population as well as the actions and actors necessary to achieve them. The plan underlines the need to develop a specific intervention for the childhood and adolescence area, which requires a differentiation of the care pathways with respect to adulthood, identifying eight specific objectives to guarantee the essential levels of care (LEA) for neuropsychic disorders in childhood and adolescence:

1. Creation of an integrated and complete regional network of services for the diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of neuropsychic disorders of the developmental age; 

2. Creation of a regional network of residential and semi-residential therapeutic structures for the out-of-hospital treatment of severe psychiatric disorders in pre-adolescence and adolescence, in close integration with local services; 

3. Definition of transition paths towards services for adulthood; 

4. Convergence of interventions in the same family nucleus of a minor with neuropsychic disorders and parent/s with psychic disorders and/or pathological dependence; 

5. Timely and integrated intervention in severe psychic disorders at onset and in psychiatric acute conditions in adolescence; 

6. Early identification of neuropsychic pathologies and consequent prompt treatment; 

7. Improvement of assistance in mental disorders of minors subject to criminal proceedings; 

8. Structuring of an adequate monitoring system. 

Among the specific actions aimed at young people, there are:

  • Awareness-raising interventions in the area for the early identification of risk signals; regional recommendations aimed at improving the specificity and appropriateness and coordination of interventions in the context of psychiatric acute illness in adolescence, including hospitalization, and their integration and coordination; experimentation of intervention models and/or teams integrated with the Departments of Mental Health, addiction departments, counseling areas in the context of projects aimed at prevention and early intervention in psychosis and severe mental disorders, strongly integrated with the services.
  • Coordination and integrated management of interventions for the mental health of juvenile offenders; specific and targeted training.