Staying Strong, But for How Long? Mental Health During COVID-19 in Italy

18 Pages Posted: 13 May 2022

See all articles by Francesca Marazzi

Francesca Marazzi

CEIS, University of Rome Tor Vergata

Andrea Piano Mortari

Department of Economics and Finance, University of Rome Tor Vergata; CEIS Tor Vergata

Federico Belotti

University of Rome Tor Vergata - Department of Economics and Finance; University of Rome, Tor Vergata - Centre for Economics and International Studies (CEIS)

Giuseppe Carrà

Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca

Ciro Cattuto

ISI Foundation

Joanna Aleksandra Kopinska

University of Rome I - Sapienza University of Rome, Department of Earth Sciences and Forecasting Research Center, Prevention and Control of Geological Risks

Daniela Paolotti

ISI Foundation

Vincenzo Atella

University of Rome Tor Vergata - Centre for International Studies on Economic Growth (CEIS); Department of Economics and Finance; University of Rome Tor Vergata - Faculty of Economics

Date Written: April 26, 2022

Abstract

A recent literature investigating mental health consequences of social distancing measures, has found a substantial increase in self-reported sleep and anxiety disorders and depressive symptoms during lockdown periods. These evidence are in contrast with the results we obtain using data on monthly purchases of psychiatric drugs by the universe of Italian pharmacies over the period of interest. We argue that this discrepancy has three potential causes: i) use of non-pharmaceutical therapies and non-medical solutions during lockdown periods; ii) unmet needs due to both demand- and supply-side shortages in healthcare services and iii) the subjectivity of self-assessed psychological health in survey studies, capturing also mild mental distress which might not evolve into mental disorder needing pharmacological treatment. This last point seems to be confirmed by lack of statistical significance of any measure of mobility change and reason of mobility (which we proxy with mobile phone data) on antidepressants and anxiolytics purchases during the entire 2020 period.

Note:
Funding Information: The authors acknowledge the financial support received from the One Health Center (One Health Fellowship). DP and CC acknowledge support from the Lagrange Project of the Institute for Scientific Interchange Foundation (ISI Foundation) funded by Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Torino (Fondazione CRT).

Conflict of Interests: None to declare.

Keywords: Mental health, lockdown, anxiety, depression, drugs

JEL Classification: I18, R40, D91

Suggested Citation

Marazzi, Francesca and Piano Mortari, Andrea and Belotti, Federico and Carrà, Giuseppe and Cattuto, Ciro and Kopinska, Joanna Aleksandra and Paolotti, Daniela and Atella, Vincenzo, Staying Strong, But for How Long? Mental Health During COVID-19 in Italy (April 26, 2022). CEIS Working Paper No. 541, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4094108 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4094108

Francesca Marazzi

CEIS, University of Rome Tor Vergata ( email )

Via Columbia 2
Rome, Lazio 00133
Italy

Andrea Piano Mortari

Department of Economics and Finance, University of Rome Tor Vergata ( email )

Via columbia 2
Rome, Rome 00123
Italy

CEIS Tor Vergata ( email )

via Columbia, 2
Rome, rome 00133
Italy

HOME PAGE: http://www.ceistorvergata.it/area.asp?a=539&oc=817&d=1128

Federico Belotti

University of Rome Tor Vergata - Department of Economics and Finance

Via Columbia 2
Rome, RM 00133
Italy

University of Rome, Tor Vergata - Centre for Economics and International Studies (CEIS) ( email )

Via Columbia, 2
Rome, RM 00133
Italy

Giuseppe Carrà

Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca

Piazza dell'Ateneo Nuovo, 1
Milano, Milan 20126
Italy

Ciro Cattuto

ISI Foundation ( email )

Turin
Italy

Joanna Aleksandra Kopinska

University of Rome I - Sapienza University of Rome, Department of Earth Sciences and Forecasting Research Center, Prevention and Control of Geological Risks

Rome
Italy

Daniela Paolotti

ISI Foundation

Vincenzo Atella (Contact Author)

University of Rome Tor Vergata - Centre for International Studies on Economic Growth (CEIS) ( email )

Via Columbia, 2
Rome, I-00133
Italy
+39 06 72595648 (Phone)

Department of Economics and Finance ( email )

Via Columbia 2
Roma, 00133
Italy

University of Rome Tor Vergata - Faculty of Economics ( email )

Via Columbia n.2
I-00133 Rome, 00133
Italy
+39 06 72595635 (Phone)
+30 06 2020 500 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.economia.uniroma2.it/sefemeq/professori/atella/

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