Italy – Concrete help against over-indebtedness. The efforts of IUS-Turin

10 April 2019

(ANS - Turin) - The Salesian University Institute of Turin-Rebaudengo (IUS-TO) doubles its efforts to people in financial difficulty: in fact, the free "SU.PER.A il GAP" help desk (Support to People Facing Pathological Gambling; overcome the gap, the acronym), established in 2015, now expands its focus and also includes over-indebtedness: this is the first free branch managed by a university, and intends to offer support to people who have ended up in the downward spiral of debts.

Over-indebtedness is a growing phenomenon in Italy, and is not only related to gambling. It may depend on many factors, such as job loss or difficulties due to unexpected expenses, perhaps to deal with medical care. In these circumstances, many people find themselves not knowing how to manage nor to whom to turn to to pay their mortgage, bills, loans ... And there are those who – as a solution - come to contemplate turning to usurious loans or even suicide.

The statistics confirm this expanding emergency: in 2017, almost half of Italian families said they had problems getting to the end of the month, when salaries are paid in Italy, and 28.7% of them had to apply for a bank loan to cover their expenses. But loans are not always granted and for this reason 12% of these families resort to loan sharks, thus entering a vicious circle.

It is to stem this phenomenon that the IUS-TO has established its own branch within the University Library in a city area particularly affected by these problems.

The IUS-TO Help Desk is offered and manned by ad hoc trained volunteers, including graduates in Psychology from the same institution, and is supervised by clinical psychologists; in the case of foreign users, the support of intercultural mediators is also provided.

It first offers people with dependency or over-indebtedness, and their families, a first reception and psychological support; then it encourages contact with specialized structures.

"The choice to open the 'Supera il GAP' HelpDesk is part of a precise idea of a university that we want to achieve ... So that the university produces and spreads science and culture, not only from authoritative studies and research, but also from from intelligent and supportive listening of the multiple 'worlds' in which people find themselves," explained prof. Alessio Rocchi, Director General of the IUS-TO.

In addition, the IUS-TO, as part of the "D.REA.M.S" project, also offers courses and workshops focused on the consequences of gambling.

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ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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