Publication Date

Winter 12-12-2021

Document Type

Senior Integrative Project


In 1978, Italy became the first European nation to radically change its mental healthcare system. Psychiatric hospitals were shut down, and a community-based publicly-funded system of mental healthcare took its place. This reform sought to restore dignity to those with mental illnesses through rehabilitation and increased participation in the community and daily activities. Though characteristics of marginalization and exclusion were relatively eliminated, covert stigmas surrounding mental illness remain a persisting problem. This review seeks to 1) evaluate the historical progression of mental health reform as well as the effectiveness of the current system of mental healthcare in Italy 2) explore theoretical perspectives of stigma and investigate the embeddedness of mental illness stigma (MIS) in Italian culture 3) review research regarding how to combat MIS, as well as criterion for effective anti-stigma projects 4) assess recent literature on the Italian response to the COVID-19 pandemic in terms of mental healthcare, and the extent to which the current system can withstand public health crises of such magnitude. More high-quality information regarding the effectiveness of the current system is needed to provide all people in Italy with equitable quality and access to psychological care.



The views expressed in this paper are solely those of the author.