Italy is one of the most affected countries in the world during the COVID-19 pandemic. The recurring waves of the epidemic largely compromised routine activities of the Italian Departments of Mental Health, significantly reducing outpatient and day service activities. Psychiatric facility and hospital treatments have also been maintained, albeit widely remodeled and conditioned by the fear of contagion. The aim of this paper was to report the subjective experiences on group activities offered in an Italian psychiatric facility for intensive interventions (the Santi Center) during the second wave of the pandemic in the fall of 2020.
The format of these group activities included weekly face-to-face meetings using supportive, psychoeducational, motor and relaxing techniques, all conducted by mental health professionals. Here we reported the participants’ subjective experiences written during the two months of these meetings, all of which merged into the special 2020 Christmas edition of the Santi’s magazine. Results
All participants (8 out of 12 inpatients hospitalized in the facility at that time) were affected by psychotic disorders. Patients’ experiences on group activities were uniformly positive. In this paper we reported the most significant passages.
Inpatients with psychotic disorder found our group activities very beneficial. Our real-world experience is a useful witness to contrast the general paralysis of mental healthcare interventions, which too much often affected Italian mental healthcare services during the pandemic. Moreover, it advances our understanding of the usefulness of group activities for increasing patient’s resilience also in an epidemic era and in a forced social isolation.