Fondazione Cariplo presents the third edition of the Attenta-mente Call, bringing the total resources allocated from 2022 to today to over 11 million euros. The objective is to build timely forms of support and care for minors and families, well calibrated on an educational, social and health level

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Two million euro budget for the mental health and psychological and emotional well-being of children. The Cariplo Foundation presented the third edition of the Attenta-mente call this morning, bringing the total resources allocated from 2022 to today to over 11 million euros. The desire is to guarantee widespread and widespread, articulated and systemic interventions, capable of generating value for the life trajectories of children and families at risk and in suffering, stimulating the coordinated participation of actors from the third sector, from the healthcare world and from schools. The 2024 call, in continuity with previous editions, has the aim of intercepting situations of emerging or hidden hardship at an early stage and increasing the capacity of the territories to build timely forms of support and care for minors and families, well calibrated on an educational and social level. and healthcare. Attenta-mente is aimed at networks of non-profit, private and public entities: third sector, neuropsychiatry services, schools, and many other community actors. Interesting entities have until July 2, 2024 to apply. “We are aware that, in addition to initiatives like this, which aims to support responses to those who are already in an acute and difficult phase, we must, in parallel, structure interventions that help our communities and families to give, to young people and children , opportunities to return to enriching relationships, friendships and moments of serenity” This is Giovanni Azzone, the President of the Cariplo Foundation.

The first two editions of the call

The first two editions of Attenta-mente Thanks to the first two editions of the call, 57 projects are already active throughout Lombardy and in the provinces of Novara and VCO: over 750 actors involved (third sector, neuropsychiatry, consultancies, schools, municipalities and universities , to reach youth councils, student representatives and the world of sport), in the field in favor of children and young people and their families. The projects seek to intercept the hidden level of emotional and psychological suffering through digital tools – apps, toll-free numbers, WhatsApp channels and dedicated Instagram profiles – and proximity actions in the spaces of young people’s daily lives. For “full-blown” disorders, therapeutic paths are combined with actions of a social, educational and psychological nature. And then again: training-awareness activities for the adults involved (parents, teachers, sports instructors, but also paediatricians and general practitioners…) to learn to understand and manage signs of difficulty and disorders. And above all, then give a voice and tools to the kids, so that they can raise their hands, talk, take charge of their life project. From the monitoring data of the Attenta-mente Call presented today at MEET, it emerges that more than 4 thousand minors and families in distress have been intercepted and followed so far by the 34 projects of the first edition, over 12 thousand children, young people and parents involved in actions of promoting well-being, 5 thousand professionals interested or trained, 100 thousand people reached by information and awareness actions.

Sadness and despair - Depressed young woman sitting alone at home by the window with city view.  Black and white.

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A snapshot of the problem Support for the projects moved in parallel with the collection of data and the study of ongoing phenomena. During the morning, the Cariplo Foundation presented the new notebook “Neurodevelopment, mental health and psychological well-being of children and adolescents”, which contains the results of research based on the analysis of access to health services in Lombardy before, during and after the pandemic, from 2015 to 2022. The study includes the entire area of ​​neurodevelopmental disorders, therefore both neurological and psychiatric. The research was coordinated by the University of Pavia which activated an interdisciplinary team of experts also coming from other institutions (Universities of Milan Bicocca and Brescia, IRCCS «Ca’ Granda» Foundation, Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico di Milano, IRCCS Mondino Foundation, ASST Civil Hospitals of Brescia and Lombardy Region). Over 100 million anonymous records of emergency room accesses, discharges from hospital departments, outpatient services, pharmacological prescriptions and therapeutic residential courses were analysed. The data relating to 2022 highlights that 137,444 children and young people turned to the regional healthcare system for neuropsychic disorders of varying severity: 110 thousand were followed in the clinic, almost 25 thousand in the emergency room, more than 17 thousand take psychotropic drugs, almost 7 thousand were hospitalized at least once, over 500 undertook a course in a therapeutic community. Furthermore, in 2022, 51% of all hospitalizations for psychiatric disorders and 79% of those for neurological disorders occurred in inappropriate departments, such as pediatrics and adult psychiatry, rather than in neuropsychiatry beds. Important critical issues are found in the continuity of care between hospital and local area, even for life-threatening situations such as self-harming and suicidal behavior despite the enormous effort underway to guarantee responses: the data say that 74% of those who enter the emergency room has no contact with local clinics in the same year.


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The research returns an important snapshot of the demand and response for treatment, but partial, since it relates to those who already have a disorder and are able to access services: there is no information on waiting lists, on those who do not yet have a full-blown disorder but have a high-risk situation or psychological difficulties, then the analysis covers only the tip of the iceberg. The saturation of the system and the greater complexity of the cases followed prevent the real request from being taken into account (and photographed). In this already suffering context with limited resources, some growing data stand out, which exceed the trends already increasing before the pandemic: they concern females, adolescents, psychiatric disorders, suicidal behavior and the use of psychotropic drugs. Females surpass males in the use of drugs, visits to the emergency room, hospital admissions and the start of therapeutic residential courses. Furthermore, the number of young people with suicidal ideation or self-harming/suicidal behavior admitted to the emergency room or ward for the first time is increasing: they go from a substantially stable trend in the pre-Covid period (112 in 2016 and 115 in 2019) to 333 in 2022 (+ 189%). The impact of COVID on the new generations has just begun and will continue for many years, and in particular on the most vulnerable populations such as minors from fragile families (parents with socioeconomic difficulties, with mental health problems), minors in problematic contexts and poor services, but also of foreign origins, small children, girls and boys. The emergency regarding adolescents and psychiatric disorders in fact compresses the possibilities of early interception and timely treatment of the little ones and of neurological or language and learning problems.