Community Mental Health Journal

, Volume 55, Issue 1, pp 129–136 | Cite as

Experiences of Mental Healthcare Reported by Individuals Diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder: An Italian Qualitative Study

  • Martine VallarinoEmail author
  • Filippo Rapisarda
  • Jan Scott
  • Tomaso Vecchi
  • Angelo Barbato
  • Barbara D’Avanzo
Original Paper


This qualitative study explores experiences of mental health care by nine Italian users with a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. The findings from semi-structured interviews carried by professional researchers highlighted the following themes: mixed feelings about the diagnosis; lack of access to psychological interventions despite preferences of users; positive view of peer support, job as a safe haven, traumatic experiences of compulsory hospital admissions; need for crisis interventions as alternative to hospital admission. Most users’ views look in accordance with evidence-based recommendations seldom implemented in practice. Future research directions, implications of users’ expectations and experiences for service planning and quality improvement, are presented and discussed in the light of the qualitative available literature.


Bipolar disorder Qualitative research Mental health care Psychosocial interventions Italy Users’ view 



We are indebted to the participants for sharing their experiences. We thank Cristian Camozzi for his work of transcription and Paolo Rigliano for his support to recruit the participants of the study.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declared no conflicts of interests with respect to the authorship and/or publication of this article.

Ethical Approval

Ethical approval were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Brain and Behavioral SciencesUniversity of PaviaPaviaItaly
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Milano-BicoccaMilanItaly
  3. 3.Academic Psychiatry, Institute of NeuroscienceNewcastle UniversityNewcastle upon TyneUK
  4. 4.Department of Psychological Medicine, Centre for Affective Disorders, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and NeurosciencesKing’s College LondonLondonUK
  5. 5.Brain Connectivity CenterNational Neurological Institute C. MondinoPaviaItaly
  6. 6.IRCCS Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche Mario NegriMilanItaly

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