European Commission EU Health Award to IAAP colleague Riccardo Bernardini
It is a great pleasure for the IAAP to announce that colleague Riccardo Bernardini, Ph.D., the Scientific Secretary of the Eranos Foundation (one of IAAP Allied Organizations) and Fellow of the Associazione per la Ricerca in Psicologia Analitica (ARPA, Italy), has received Europe’s highest honor for mental health: the 2021 EU Health Award – Mental Health. The award is for the project “Psychological Assistance in Primary Care to Counteract the Psychosocial Effects of the COVID-19 Emergency: Support to Individuals, Families, Caregivers, and Communities of Help”, promoted by the Jungian institute in Ivrea (Italy), of which Riccardo Bernardini is the President and Director (www.ipap-jung.eu). This is the first Jungian-inspired initiative to receive this outstanding recognition from the European Commission.
In order to cope with the COVID-19 emergency, in April 2020 the Clinical-Psychological Centre for Primary Care IPAP-ASL TO4 (jointly promoted by IPAP and the Local Health Authority ASL TO4) launched the project “Psychological Assistance in Primary Care to Counteract the Psychosocial Effects of the COVID-19 Emergency: Support to Individuals, Families, Caregivers, and Communities of Help”, presented in response to the Call for Proposals “Together Everything will be Fine” of the Compagnia di San Paolo Foundation and with the support of the Fund for charitable, social, and cultural contributions of Intesa Sanpaolo Bank. The project was intended to offer psychological support to COVID-19 patients; family members and caregivers of COVID-19 patients; health care personnel engaged in pandemic management; and the broader population indirectly affected by the pandemic. The project, integrating Jungian-oriented psychotherapy with dynamic brief psychotherapy, represented an innovative intervention of psychological assistance in emergency situations and of development of models and skills for an immediate, effective, and multi-professional response to a global crisis.
As part of the EU4Health 2021-2027 Program, the EU Health Award aims to raise awareness of the vital role that cities, local authorities, civil society, and educational institutions play in strengthening participatory democracy and active citizenship in public health. Since 2015, the EU Health Award has been honoring organizations across Europe for their successful public health initiatives. Initially aimed at NGOs, the award soon expanded to include cities, local authorities or affiliated organizations, educational institutions or other non-profit organizations. The award is part of the activities of the EU Health Policy Platform. Over the years, it has covered a variety of priority health topics from Ebola, antimicrobial resistance and vaccination, to tobacco prevention and the promotion of vaccination and healthy lifestyles, among others. For the 2021 EU Health Award, the European Commission recognized outstanding initiatives by NGOs, civil society organizations, and educational institutions that seek to promote communication and health literacy about cancer prevention among children and youth (ages 6-24) and community-based initiatives that alleviate the mental health impact of COVID-19. A total of 110 applications from 15 different EU countries were submitted and reviewed against the Award criteria. The European Commission selected the winning initiatives based on an evaluation by a Jury composed of European Commission officials and high-level external experts.
The 2021 Award Ceremony, as part of the Annual Meeting of the Health Policy Platform of the European Commission, took place on May 4, 2022, in the Schumann Room of Berlaymont Palace in Brussels (European Commission, Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety – DG SANTE). At the project “Psychological Assistance in Primary Care to Counteract the Psychosocial Effects of the COVID-19 Emergency: Support to Individuals, Families, Caregivers, and Communities of Help” of the Clinical-Psychological Center IPAP-ASL TO4 was awarded the 3rd Prize for the intervention on the theme of mental health, in the category NGOs and non-profit organizations. The award ceremony was chaired by Isabel de la Mata Barranco, Principal Advisor for Health and Food Safety to President Ursula von der Leyen at the European Commission. For the Clinical-Psychological Centre for Primary Care IPAP-ASL TO4, Riccardo Bernardini and Alessandra Agnolon received the award, representing the entire working group, which also includes Silvana Faccio, Marcello Giove, and Michele Liuzzi.
In 2020 and 2021, the project interfaced and operationally integrated the initiatives already put in place by the Local Health Authority ASL TO4, through the implementation of the psychological team for emergencies, assisting more than five hundred patients, caregivers, and health care personnel during the pandemic. This number includes users who accessed the service and were followed in different modalities: from referral to a specialist service to occasional remote psychological support to a full-fledged brief psychotherapeutic course. There were many family members of elderly people living in distant locations who needed to be provided with referrals and/or information on how they could care for their loved ones from a distance. The staff members of the Primary Care Clinical-Psychological Center involved in the COVID-19 emergency were young Psychologists specializing or newly specialized in Jungian Psychotherapy, some of whom now in the process of beginning their IAAP analytical training. The Center provided the following types of services: brief Jungian-oriented psychotherapies, psychological support interventions, and signposting of territorial resources; psychological counseling/training to General Practitioners (GPs) and Territorial Medicine; Jungian-oriented supervision and clinical consultation on psychological interventions delivered; monitoring of psychological interventions and evaluation of outcomes with empirical research initiatives.
Digital technologies ensured the continuity of psychological work, which assumed even greater social relevance at a time of collective crisis such as the one we went through. Electronic devices, with the help of telecommunication software, have enabled Psychologists to maintain clinical continuity also with frail patients, who would otherwise have put their health at risk in moving to public facilities in the midst of the pandemic; made it possible to reach out to new users, who otherwise would not have had access to the service (some of them, in particular, residing in rural or mountainous areas); supported home health workers in the narrow moments free from their work on the ward; offered the extended population, including family members and caregivers, the opportunity to have operational and generic information on the day-to-day management of the pandemic; and allowed Psychologists to take advantage of supervision and training on an ongoing and flexible basis. The training interventions of young Psychologists, in particular, focused on: theoretical models of crisis intervention, such as Jungian oriented brief psychotherapies, psychological support interventions, and signposting of territorial resources; techniques and monitoring on psychological interventions in emergency; experiences and peculiarities of emergency psychology interventions in Severe Acute Respiratory Syndromes: psychopathology, psychological intervention proposals, and clinical outcomes during the SARS-CoV-1 (2002-2003), MERS-CoV (2015), and SARS-Cov-2 (2019-2022) pandemics.
The project has it headquarters in the Olivetti industrial district of the City of Ivrea (Italy), which is inscribed since 2020 in the UNESCO World Heritage List as the Industrial City of the 20th Century. The enlightened and pioneering entrepreneur Adriano Olivetti (1901-1960) himself underwent analysis with Ernst Bernhard (1896-1965), the pioneer of Analytical Psychology in Italy, and was the first publisher of C.G. Jung’s works in Italy. The Ivrea open-air museum, along a route of about two kilometers that covers Jervis Street and the contiguous areas on which the most representative buildings of Olivetti culture stand, testifies to Olivetti’s commitment in multiple fields: from architecture to urban planning, from industrial design to advertising graphics, from publishing to welfare. In the period from 1930 to 1960, Ivrea became the center of the most advanced reflections in the industrial and socio-economic, architectural, and urban planning fields; Olivetti’s thought manifested itself in an exceptional set of buildings for industry and social services of extraordinary quality, according to an alternative model of development to the traditional one. Not surprisingly, Olivetti’s unique and in some ways unrepeatable holistic consideration of the individual and his community, which also motivated the implementation of the European Commission award-winning project, finds inspiration and affinity in Analytical Psychology and Jung’s thought.