The data of ‘Withyou, Wellness Training For Health – Psychology with you’, promoted by the Gemelli Irccs University Hospital Foundation in Rome and by Unicef Italy, were presented. The initiative was created with the aim of promoting a path of psychological support and empowerment dedicated to pre-adolescents and adolescents and their families, particularly affected by the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic
Almost 40% of the young people taken in charge of the ‘#Withyou, Wellness Training For Health – Psychology with you’ project, promoted by the Agostino Gemelli Irccs University Hospital Foundation in Rome and by Unicef Italia “feel and suffer from anxious affective symptoms- depression that could lead to a definitive psychopathology”. The data were illustrated in Rome during an event in which the video of the mission carried out by the Unicef testimonial Federico Cesari was also presented to get to know some of the young people and operators involved in the project.
The initiative was created with the aim of promoting a path of psychological support and empowerment dedicated to pre-adolescents and adolescents and their families, particularly affected by the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. The project lasted a year and involved 1,571 young people (46% females and 54% males) – of which 971 also underwent a psychodiagnostic evaluation and were taken care of and 600 involved with school activities – and 1,942 parents, for a total of 3,513 direct beneficiaries and 35,130 indirect beneficiaries, through assessment processes, integrated care, focus groups and prevention activities on mental health and psychosocial well-being in high schools. According to the curators, the picture that emerges is “also encouraging because the preliminary data on therapeutic efficacy shows that some disorders can change trajectory, veer towards the well-being and promotion of the health of our children, if adequately recognized and ‘accompanied’ in their entirety”.
The evaluations carried out highlighted “a condition of specific learning disorder (Dsa) and related psychological disorder on 462 of the 971 boys taken into care, or 47% of our sample. The remaining 53% of the sample has other conditions, including including neurodevelopmental disorders, such as intellectual disability, nutrition disorders, autism spectrum disorder, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, movement disorders, neurological or neuromuscular disorders”.
“The Withyou project has made it possible to early intercept a trigger of behaviors that are not necessarily pathological, but an expression of profound suffering. Thanks to this we have been able to respond to the request for help from our children, even the youngest ones – says Daniela Chieffo, head of the Psychology Operational Unit clinic Gemelli University Hospital Irccs – Withyou is a journey with the youngest of prevention and promotion of mental health towards change.To encourage it, it is necessary to understand the formulation of help of the young person, the family in which he lives and the social world in which he lives thus realizes a vision by identifying its value, its talent and the system within which it is expressed, minimizing the generative matrix of the most severe psychopathological frameworks”.
In the sample enrolled and followed up it was possible to ascertain that “in 383 assessments (39%) there was a clinically significant alteration in the internalizing scale, consisting of the subscales anxiety/depression (30%), alienation/depression (23%) and psychosomatic symptoms which do not have an established medical basis (21%); while in 176 evaluations (18%) there is evidence of a clinically significant alteration in the externalizing scale, consisting of the subscales disruptive behavior (9%) and aggressive behavior and hyperconnection (13%). Of these, 149 (16%) present a more marked and general global impairment, with personality alteration on various psychological and psychiatric dimensions”.
Of all the boys followed, in some cases it was necessary to apply precautionary measures for school in order to guarantee school integration. “Specifically – the curators of the project report – 459 young people (47%) needed a personalized teaching plan which contemplates the adoption of compensatory and dispensatory measures to guarantee the right to study; 8 young people (0.8%) had the need for a Bes (Special Educational Needs); 150 boys (15%) needed to be assisted by a support teacher; 168 boys (17%) were instructed to join a course of psychotherapy”.
“I express great satisfaction for the continuation of the collaboration with a reality of high social value such as Unicef Italia – declares Marco Elefanti, general director of the Agostino Gemelli Irccs University Hospital Foundation – with particular regard to issues of great importance such as mental health and psychosocial well-being of children and adolescents. Through an in-depth and original analysis, we will try to offer together possible solutions to problems that impact many families”.
“Today’s young people seem to be experiencing a real ‘social emergency’ in the field of mental health and psychosocial well-being – highlights Carmela Pace, president of Unicef Italy – Our commitment as Unicef Italy, also through this project carried out with the Gemelli Polyclinic , is to shine a light on this issue because by supporting children and young people and their families we can concretely make a difference in their lives and in our communities”.
“The results of this report – comments Andrea Iacomini, spokesman for Unicef Italy – confirm the dramatic data that, like Unicef, we have disseminated internationally: one in 7 teenagers between the ages of 10 and 19 lives with a diagnosed mental disorder; among these, 89 million are boys and 77 million are girls, 86 million are between the ages of 15 and 19 and 80 million are between the ages of 10 and 14. In Italy, in 2019, it was estimated that 16.6% of boys and girls between between 10 and 19 years old, an estimated 956,000, suffered from mental health problems”.