The Italian Almanac

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unhappy girl

Italian News - April 5

Assailed by uncertainty at work and in love, Italians in their thirties are an increasingly unhappy bunch. In general, it was the usual mix of solitude, depression and mishaps in love that made people call up the Voce Amica hotline in 2005, its 50th year of operations. But the association said the most striking development recently had been the emergence of a new group of oppressed souls who had formerly been more at ease in their lives.

They had an age range of 25-45, insecure jobs and a host of practical problems to confront. Most had a family to provide for, making their anxieties even more pressing. According to Voce Amica, the callers in this category believe they have little hope of a better future and often their struggle to cope produced aggressive behaviour and the break-up of relationships.

Monica Silvestrini, the helpline's director, said the association had been in an ideal position over the last half century to monitor how the population was coping with a series of social changes. "We are now witnessing another epoch-making change: the crisis of the young, who have as little security at work as they do in their affections," Silvestrini said.

About a quarter of the people who now phone Voce Amica are crushed by problems directly concerned with their jobs. Five years ago Voce Amica's most frequent callers were old people.