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A historic turning point: Tuscany establishes the territorial basic psychology service

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A historic turning point: Tuscany establishes the territorial basic psychology service

by Maria Antonietta Gulino

The Law establishing the Basic Psychologist Service for the first time was approved on November 9th by the Regional Council. With the approval of the law, the Tuscan health service fills this gap and structurally introduces a service with a view to taking overall responsibility for the person and his / her psychological health. THE TEXT OF THE LAW

10 NOV

The demand for psychology was growing strongly and with the Covid-19 epidemic and with the significant consequences from a social, relational and also economic point of view, it has increased further.

The growth in demand for psychological benefits had already been documented in the 2001 WHO Mental Health Report, which traced the vicious circle between poverty and mental disorders. Poverty, economic deprivation, unemployment lead to mental disorders and behavioral problems which then generate an increase in public health expenditure, the loss of work, a reduction in productivity.

This increase in needs is also easily traceable in the periodic growth of the annual consumption of antidepressants which continues to see Tuscany as the first region for consumption since 2014 and still today (AIFA 2021 Report). These data demonstrate a strong presence of the problem in the territory without, however, taking charge capable of dealing with the phenomenon in a decisive and effective manner.

With the approval of the law, the Tuscan health service fills this gap and structurally introduces a service with a view to taking overall responsibility for the person and his / her psychological health.

The law approved by the Tuscany Region is in line with the Regional Integrated Social Health Plan, which promotes models of assistance through the creation of an integrated network of health and social services, a multi-professional territorial health model for taking charge of the health demand. and care.

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In the Community Homes, the basic psychologist will work in close synergy with the territory and with basic medicine in order to offer adequate support to the population.

It is a clear and easy to read law. The regulatory text consists of a few articles, which carefully define the structure that the Region intends to give to the service.

The service is set up to carry out primary psychological assistance and to collaborate with general practitioners and pediatricians of free choice in intercepting and responding to the healthcare needs of the population. The activity is aimed at guaranteeing psychological well-being by providing a first level of assistance integrated with other health services and able to ensure rapid patient care. The psychologist who takes care of the request for assistance develops a psychological support program also in coordination with the territorially competent second level structures. The psychologist is accessed through a request for advice from the general practitioner, the pediatrician of free choice or another specialist.

The psychologists assigned to the service will initially be freelancers in a conventional relationship with the ASL, with the future prospect of a permanent implementation of the psychological assistance service provided directly by the Regional Health Service.

In addition to a degree in Psychology, the required requirements will be the registration in the register of Psychologists section A, the absence of dependency relationships with the public service structures, and further specific skills identified by the Regional Council with implementing resolutions within 180 days from entry into force of the law.

The financial coverage is foreseen for each year 2023 and 2024 with 350,000 euros of resources already allocated to the three ASLs in the items Protection of health in the loans for the guarantee of the LEA.

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The President of the Council of the Tuscany Region Antonio Mazzeo declared “Today is a historic day for Tuscany. A revolutionary rule that finally says something simple and clear: mental health is as fundamental as physical health and must be a right accessible to all. From today, Tuscan citizens will be able to have the basic psychology service available. The data on the mental health of the population speak for themselves: the pandemic, the lockdown, the lack of sociability and fear in these two years have had a decisive impact on the psyche of all of us. The basic psychologist will provide psychological support for people at risk by working closely with primary care doctors and pediatricians. I thank all those who have contributed to improving this law and for the work done in the committee. “

The Order of Psychologists of Tuscany has worked on the primary care psychologist project since 2020, presented it to the Health Commission, was audited during the States General of Health and contributed together with the signatory regional councilors to the drafting of the law, involving the public service psychologists.

Intercepting the psychological needs of the population early, creating a proximity service, means stimulating adaptive responses, preventing the need from becoming a serious disorder, making prevention, reducing the risk of chronicity.

This is a historic achievement for Tuscany which puts another important step in ensuring that the service can be spread and become national law.

Marie Antoinette Gulino

President of the Order of Psychologists of Tuscany

November 10, 2022
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