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Going to the psychologist saves five sick days every month

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Going to the psychologist saves five sick days every month

In 2022 the Government introduced the “psychological bonus”, 25 million euros for the support “of people suffering from anxiety and depression and in general from psychological distress” by putting on the plate up to a maximum of 600 euros per person, depending on the ‘Isee.
In 2023, 10 million were allocated to cover the bonus that people will receive in 2024 and another 8 million for the following years (up to a maximum of 1500 euros per person).

Only 14% of applications were accepted, due to insufficient resources available.

What impact did this measure have? The answers come from PsyCARE project, made by National Council of the Order of Psychologists – Cnop in collaboration with the Universities of Milan Bicocca, Bergamo, Catania, Palermo, Pavia and La Sapienza of Rome.

The first significant fact: the bonus opened the doors to therapy especially for people who had never used it: 72% were not being treated at the time of the request and, among new patients, four out of five (81%) had never visited a therapist, predominantly for economic reasons.

Almost 85% of patients present more than one reason for requesting help: among the main ones, psychological symptoms (58,3%), the family relationships (39.4%), the desire for one deeper knowledge of oneself (33.2%), the relationship with one’s own partner (26.7%), traumatic events such as bereavement or illness, difficulties in studying or working and, finally, psycho-physical symptoms such as headaches or insomnia.

Save yourself five sick days in a month

Data collected to date on over two thousand pairs of patients and therapists show a large and positive impact on patient productivity. «In fact, among those who benefited from the bonus, there was a significant decrease in the number of working days lost due to problems related to mental health“, observes Laura Parolin, vice-president of Cnop and professor at the University of Milan-Bicocca. «Five days in a month, which according to Eurostat data on labor costs is equivalent to around 1,200 euros saved per month per person. Numbers which, if compared to people with similar problems in the entire Italian population, would lead to an economic impact equal to over 1% of the country’s gross domestic product».

Numbers that would lead to an economic impact equal to over 1% of the country’s gross domestic product.

Laura Parolin

Furthermore, significant the decrease in the number of visits to the general practitioner for physical pain not directly linked to psychological discomfort and on the consumption of painkillers.

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Finally, both therapists and patients underline the usefulness of the bonus in promoting access to psychological care and highlight a improvement in personal life of those who have benefited from it, both from the perspective of the therapist and from that of the patient himself. Among the requests to improve the measure are greater allocations to increase sessions and a simplification of the membership process, especially regarding waiting times and procedures.

Less anxiety, depression, psychological discomfort

«The data we collected with the survey project, PsyCARE, show that after the interventions, psychological symptoms decrease – such as anxiety, depression, psychological distress – and so-called trans-diagnostic factors increase, such as the ability to regulate emotions and resources. interpersonal”, comments Parolin. «The productivity of the participants also increases, understood as a decrease in lost working days, drug consumption and visits to the general practitioner».

The Bonus measure represents a unique and precious innovation in Italy. «I trust that these promising results will promote further structural appropriations to promote accessibility to psychological care: only 14% of applicants were able to access the measure and we would like this percentage to extend to cover all those who need it».

It increases health and affects the economy

For the president of Cnop, David Lazzari «These data not only confirm that psychological treatments work and improve health and quality of life but also that they impact the economy by producing lower expenses and documented savings. Furthermore, they confirm that there are many people who need psychological and psychotherapeutic help and have to give it up for economic reasons.”

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Also important for Lazzari «is the opinion of those who have benefited from the bonus: 53% feel strongly improved and 36% improved, we are talking about 9 out of 10 people. I would add that we have documented how the investment of 25 million has produced enormously greater health and economic savings. The bonus is a piece of a network of response to psychological needs that dmust include school psychology and basic psychologistlike three vertices of a triangle”, he concludes.

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