The impact of the pandemic on mental health is clear. Increased stress and other issues as a result of the strains of the last two years have been felt universally. However, for many, those issues impacted—and continue to impact—daily lives, especially when coupled with culture shock and the inevitable challenges involved in moving to a new country.
When packing up your suitcase to begin an adventure on foreign shores, it’s normal to experience excitement mixed with worry, given that it’s impossible to fully anticipate everything that awaits you. Couple that with a pandemic and it’s entirely comprehensible that services such as Tages Onlus, a mental health centre in Florence, saw a noted increase in requests for services. Tages Onlus comprises of a team of mental health professionals (Tages for Foreigners) specifically dedicated to English speaking clients.
Chair of Tages for Foreigners, Doctor Simone Cheli, commented, “We are a team of three therapists, one psychiatrist and two psychologists. Once the pandemic arrived, we were expecting a reduction in requests for services and instead we saw an increase, particularly from students who arrived during the pandemic who were dealing with culture shock and stress, plus the pandemic and social isolation”. The English-speaking team tackles these issues at their studio at via della Torretta 14, as well as offering online services that are of particular benefit to those who would like to continue their care upon returning home.
Tages for Foreigners brings together health care, psychology, social interventions and education, with the multidisciplinary team offering evidence-based interventions tailored to clients’ requests and needs. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT) and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) are among the approaches taken. Individually tailored psychiatric and psychological assessment and medication management are also offered, with services focused on adults and guidance given on where to seek help elsewhere for minors.
Although several mental health professionals are available, Tages for Foreigners is the only multidisciplinary team in Florence.
The centre is also dedicated to research, Cheli elaborates “We have extensively published about how to support people, for example, gifted students enrolled in highly competitive PhD programmes, or people with a high level of perfectionism. We also assist parents who are experiencing difficulties while living abroad with children during a pandemic. We are a charity occupied in research, training and clinical intervention and conduct a lot of projects. For instance, we are currently leading a national project offering training in communication to hospitals in Italy.”
If you are navigating life abroad while facing mental health difficulties, services are available here to deal with and treat these issues, with a professional team available just a short distance from the centre of Florence, or even online at your own home.
Tages Onlus Firenze is located at via della Torretta 14. Email firstname.lastname@example.org, T:055 679 037.