Objective - To survey and analyse the extent of utilization of «Non Pharmacological Interventions» (NPI) in the public mental health services of a large city. Setting - Inteview of the entire medical staff employed in 1991 in 10 Departments of Mental Health in the urban area of Naples, Italy. Main measures - A «ad hoc» questionnaire was prepared to gather informations on prevalence of use on NPI in different therapeutic settings, the selected technique according to the different diagnostic categories and the degree of professional training of the interviewed medical personnel. Result - The NPI, as the only treatment, was preferred by the large majority (86%) of the medical staff. The patients treated with NPI was double in outpatient than in inpatient. Although the medical staff did not use the same diagnostic criteria (ICD-9, DSM-III, others) anxiety (49%) and personality disorders (14,3%) were the diagnostic categories most commonly selected for NPI. At the time of the survey 24% of the patients were treated with psychotherapy. Support psychoterapy, psychoanalysis, family therapy were the most frequently employed. The support psychotherapy was mainly used in treatment of schizophrenia. Near to 50% of the medical staff reported a combined use of up to five different NPI. By and large choice of NPI was found dependent on the type of training and inversly correlated with the degree of seniority. Conclusions - The data obteined from the present survey show the large use and variability in NPI employed in public mental health services. The analysis of psycotherapy used suggests a different approach between public and private sector.