In recent decades, Italy has become a desirable destination for immigrants. It should be noted that the organization of mental health services in Italy strongly relies on outpatient services, while the psychiatric wards usually accommodate patients in acute phases of their disorder. Nonetheless, migrants’ first contact often happen in a psychiatry ward when they are in a severe and acute psychopathological condition. The research was performed in the Emergency Department (ED) of the Maggiore della Carità Hospital, Novara, Italy. We collected data about 3781 consecutive patients, 3247 Italian natives and 421 migrants, assessed in the ER of the Maggiore della Carità Hospital, and referred to psychiatric assessment after ER triage. From 1st January 2006 to 31st December 2007, only data for migrant patients were available. From 1st January 2008 to 31st December 2015, data were available for all consecutive patients assessed in the ER. An experienced psychiatrist assessed patients with a clinical interview, including the assessment of suicidal intent, suicidal behaviors and attempts. The psychiatrist filled in for each patient a data sheet, reporting demographic data and clinical features. The high frequency of substance use disorders was higher in the migrant population than in the native one. The request for psychiatric consultation for self-injury behaviors was more frequent in migrants and also suicide attempts were more common. Nonetheless, being a migrant was not a predictor of suicide attempt in our sample.
Several differences were found between migrants and natives in socio-demographic, clinical and treatment variables. Clinical implications will be discussed.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.