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.