TOPIC

Mental health

Mental health

The World Health Organization (WHO) establishes the essential role of mental health for the social realization of the individual and his overall state of health. Evidence indicates that mental disorders, already a major source of suffering and disability in the world today, are progressively increasing.

Because of their complex etiopathogenesis, which involves other physiological systems in addition to the nervous system, mental disorders require a multidisciplinary approach that combines clinical research with the investigation of the biological and psychosocial factors that contribute to the vulnerability and ability of an individual to cope (resilience) with these diseases. To this end, the Italian National Institute of Health (ISS) promotes research and its application with particular attention to critical phases such as perinatal, childhood, adolescence and senescence. The conditions and diseases studied include neurodevelopmental disorders, depression, anxious syndromes, obsessive-compulsive, emotional, cognitive, mnemonic and psychosomatic disorders, and related stress.

The ISS approach is interdisciplinary and involves psychiatry, neuroscience, epidemiology, clinical psychology, ethology, psychobiology, psychopharmacology and genetics. The interactions between biological, behavioral, social and environmental factors are studied both in the genesis and in the protection of mental disorders using experimental models, clinical studies, birth cohorts, populations followed over time (to identify the risk factors of developing a mental disorder) and twin studies. Innovative therapies are developed and validated with particular attention to psychotherapeutic and rehabilitative approaches and their integration with drug treatment. Mental health interventions are implemented in schools and in the workplace and studies on services to improve access and quality of care.