By Marcello Filibeck
February 18th, 2022. The Constitutional Affairs and Budget Commissions of the Italian Parliament has approved an amendment to introduce a twenty-million euros fund to finance psychological treatments.
The first ten million from the fund will be distributed among the national health structures and will help people cover their starting expenses such as first psychological sessions, which can be go up to 600 euros per person. The remaining ten million euros will be used to enhance health facilities that offer psychological support.
The amendment is part of the “Deadlines’ extension“ decree, which is currently being discussed by the parliament. The fund was initially planned in the 2022 budget, but the proposal was rejected by the Senate during the vote last December. The approval arrived at 2:52 in the night when Commission member and Democratic Party MP Filippo Sensi announced the approval via an Instagram post.
Talking to 9to5, David Lazzari, Chairman of the National Professional Psychologists Board (CNOP), expressed his satisfaction with this development. “Financial aid for psychological treatments is a high priority for Italians,” Lazzari said. The Chairman also mentioned the huge mobilization that followed the proposal’s rejection in December, leading to an online petition signed by over 300,000 people.
According to Lazzari, the coronavirus pandemic brought in an increasing number of stress condition among Italian people. “But people are now more aware of the importance of receiving adequate support when needed,” Lazzari explained.
“Recent data shows that the number of requests for psychological treatments increased by 40% over the last year,” Lazzari continued adding that one-third of these requests could not be handled due to applicants’ insufficient funds. “The financial aid provided by this amendment is a concrete answer to this issue, and I hope that the Government will provide a bigger fund in the 2023 budget,” the chairman said.
Lazzari also stressed on the importance of enhancing the role of general practitioners and local health structures.
“In Italy, we put many efforts into psychiatry, and the health care system offers an excellent service for this. Now it is time to guarantee the same level of support during the initial stages of the treatment.”
(headline picture credits: Filippo Sensi/Twitter)