Italians are getting more depressed: report

The mental health of Italians is getting worse, with 2.6 million people suffering from depression, statistics released on Thursday show.

Italians are getting more depressed: report
Italians' mental health is getting worse, although their physical health is improving. People photo: Shutterstock

Between 2005 and 2013 Italians’ mental health dropped by 1.6 points on a scale devised by Istat, Italy’s national statistics agency.

The worst-affected group of Italians were those aged under 34, particularly men, with a fall of 2.7 points. Mental illness among adults aged between 45 and 54 also rose by 2.6 points, Istat said.

While the new figures show a declining situation among Italians, the situation was shown to be far worse among foreigners. During the same period mental health among foreign residents in Italy fell by 4.7 percent, with women particularly affected (-5.4).

Within Italy depression was the most common mental illness between 2005 and 2013, affecting 2.6 million people. The rate of depression among women was double that of men, Istat said.

Although mental illness has been on the rise in Italy, people’s physical health has improved in recent years.

Breast cancer prevention is getting better, thanks to more screening programmes, while more Italians are seeking out specialists to have their physical health problems dealt with.

There is however room for improvement. Obesity is on the rise in Italy, while the number of children starting to smoke before they turn 14 is also on the rise, Istat said.  

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Italy has become a country of solo living

The number of single-person households is on the rise in Italy, fewer babies are being born and people are living longer, according to figures from Istat, the national statistics agency.

Italy has become a country of solo living
Stock image/Depositphotos

Italy’s low birth rate and aging population has long been recognised, but the more surprising aspect of Istat’s annual report for 2016 is that more people are living alone.

The rate of single-person households increased from 20.5 percent to 31.6 percent, while households made up of five or more people declined to 5.4 percent from 8.1 percent.

Meanwhile, the birthrate is continuing on its downward trend, with 12,342 fewer babies born in 2016 than in the previous year. Italy has the sixth lowest fertility rate in Europe, with 1.35 children born for every woman of child-bearing age.

At the same time, people are living longer, with life expectancy rising to 80.6 years for men and 85.1 years for women.

Italy’s population rate stood at 60,589,455 at the end of 2016, over 76,000 less than at the beginning of the year.

Foreigners make up 8.3 percent of the population, a figure that reflected little change from the previous year. The majority of Italy’s immigrant population come from the EU, followed by central and eastern Europe and North Africa.