WE CANNOT OVERLOOK THE SOCIO-HEALTH PHENOMENON CALLED “ITALIAN SYNDROME”

The term syndrome means, in medicine, a set of symptoms and clinical signs that constitute the clinical manifestations of one or several diseases, regardless of the etiology that distinguishes them.
The “Italian Syndrome” was first diagnosed and named after two psychiatrists in Kiev: in 2005, they had observed symptoms common to many Ukrainians and Romanians and Moldovans, but also Filipino or South American. All emigrated for years to assist elderly people in rich Europe, away from children and husbands.

More than a disease, “Italy Syndrome” is a medical-social phenomenon, explains Petronela Nechita, primary psychiatrist of the clinic in Iasi:

“It has to do with prolonged lack of sleep, detachment from the family, the delegate of motherhood to grandparents, husbands, neighbors…
We have a lot of case studies. It became worse when the Romanians from the South, where they worked in the fields and were paid less, moved to assist the elderly in Northern Italy: among our patients there are mainly those who refused the days of rest and the free hours to earn better, destroyed by grueling rhythms.
No one can cure a demented or a person who is not self-sufficient: 24 hours a day, without ever stopping. With the mental burden of what you left behind. She and I would be sick.”

Upon returning to Romania, the therapy can last up to five years and rarely it is provide by the public health service: 240 euros every twelve months, an average salary. A third of hospitalizations attempt suicide at least once, and often succeed. But there are far more victims of the syndrome than the women who are affected by it: the 750,000 children that carers leave in Romania, the so-called white orphans.

The hardships of the left behind are different. Anger, anxiety, learning difficulties: “There are those who have their mother away, and they are ashamed of it. Who lives with grandparents, and they’re too old. Who with the neighbors, too strangers. Who was just alone. Parents sometimes go to Italy and do not delegate responsibility: they disappear for months, they never contact the school. Maybe they change their phone records and their children don’t even have a number to call.”
Most of the time, it is a form of depression characterized by anxiety, apathy, mental and physical asthenia, with distraction and insomnia associated with a deeply sad disposition, sculpted by a feeling of alienation.

THE DISEASE MANIFESTS ITSELF ON RETURN HOME

Symptoms of this syndrome occur on their return home when, after many years of absence, they face reintegration into the family.
The detachment has been long, a deep loneliness takes over, they feel the children who have emotionally moved away, feel their sense of motherhood fade, feel a deep loneliness.
These women no longer know which family they belong to, which part of Europe they belong to, is the principle of a radical identity split.

STEMMING THE PROBLEM
WHAT WE CAN DO

IT IS NECESSARY TO DEVELOP A LONG-TERM STRATEGY AND IMPLEMENT IT IN A STABLE FRAMEWORK, INVOLVING ALL RESPONSIBLE ACTORS.

WHAT CAN WE DO?

Protecting the worker in change
Protecting the worker contractually
The guarantee of a job over time
Establishing centres of friendship and solidarity