In recent decades, Italy has become a desirable destination for immigrants. In 2014, five million people (8.2% of the population) were migrants (regular/irregular, documented/undocumented). This study looks at psychiatric health, an important feature especially for first‐generation migrants and compares the new settlers with the native Italians. It should be noted that the organization of mental health services in Italy strongly relies on outpatient services, while the psychiatric wards, within the general hospitals, usually accommodate patients in acute phases of their disorder. Nonetheless, migrants’ first contact often happens in a psychiatry ward when they are in a severe and acute psychopathological condition. Research methods: Quantitative and qualitative; longitudinal research using official statistical and clinical data obtained from records of a public hospital as well as information obtained through professional interview. Results: In relation to mental health, we found that the migrant patients referred for psychiatric consultation to the emergency department (ED) setting were younger, less frequently treated by psychiatric outpatient services, more commonly going to the ED for self‐injury and presenting with symptoms of substance abuse and alcohol‐related disorders. The native Italian population was older, more frequently retired and/or invalid, more frequently already treated by psychiatric outpatient services for any kind of psychiatric symptoms. Conclusion: The comparison of the sociodemographic and clinical features of immigrants and Italians referred for psychiatric consultation in the ED highlighted some differences. Implications are discussed in the light of the existing literature.
Part of the book: People's Movements in the 21st Century