We present here an exploratory descriptive investigation about the needs of the caregivers of patients with severe mental illness (SMI) referring to a mental health service of a Southern Italian city. Twelve caregivers were queried, as experienced contacts, about their own emotional involvement and their relationship with the patient by means of a semi-structured interview. Interviews were subjected to a qualitative thematic-categorical analysis. The results reveal painful experiences of anguish and feelings of inadequacy stemming from care-giving, which gravely impact the caregivers' personal well-being and family relations.


Family Burden, Communication of Diagnosis, Severe Mental Illness, Sense-Making Process, Qualitative Research

Author Bio(s)

Francesca Dicé PhD is psychologist and specialist in clinical psychology, scholarship holder at SInAPSi Athenaeum Center of the University of Naples Federico II. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: francescadice@yahoo.it.

Felice Zoena MD is specialist in psychiatry and psychoanalyst, head physician at Mental Health Service 32, Local Health Authority Naples 1.

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