The Malta Independent 9 December 2019, Monday

Mental health care should be integrated with treatment of physical ailments

Giulia Magri Wednesday, 17 July 2019, 15:33 Last update: about 6 months ago

People with mental health disorders should not be treated as second class patients when it comes to the management of other chronic conditions, reads the Mental Health National Strategy 2020-2030.

Launching the strategy, Health Minister Chris Fearne said there is a need to ensure that patients with mental health problems are given the same attention and care as others are given for physical ailments.

Back in December 2018, the Mental Health Strategy went through a public consultation process. The launch of the 10-year strategy is to ensure that the topic of mental health is a key priority for Malta. “Our vision is to promote mental health and well-being for everyone in Malta and that everyone has the right to obtain quality treatment, care and support to live a health life”, said Fearne. 

The strategy highlights that every individual should be truly empowered to seek and obtain help, free from discrimination or stigma. Fearne said that the Ministry has a broader campaign of promoting mental health, which will extend to different sectors, most importantly education and employment.

“We have already visited a number of schools to explain our holistic vision and the importance of taking care of one’s mental health.” He also said that mental health is an indispensable element of health and well-being, and that one must protect through a “proactive and preventive approach”.

He said that the overall vision for the Mental Health Strategy is to focus on a combination of initiatives to prevent mental ill-health when possible, and investment in resources. He also added that there should also be the creation of a new service network which revolves around the patient’s needs and focuses on their participation in society. “Our strategy for the next few years is to focus on the wellbeing and services for the community, and that our resources will go towards the hospitals, services, patients, families and also to the cares and specialists.”

 

Repurposing of Mount Carmel Hospital into a dignified care complex

When the topic of Mount Carmel Hospital was discussed, Fearne admitted that currently there are problems, due to the lack of investment over the years which has led to the dilapidation of the building. He explained that Mount Carmel can no longer fulfil the purposes of an acute mental health facility and that planning has commenced for a new acute psychiatric hospital.

Mount Carmel will undergo a change of use, and that once rendering and works are done, the facility will be used as a care complex to seek after for frail persons needing medium to long-term care and support.

He explained that the new hospital will be set up within the Mater Dei Hospital and will hold 120 beds. The strategy highlights that the new acute psychiatric hospital will provide quality, effective and patient-centred care conducive to early recovery and discharge to the community. It also states that the hospital will offer different levels of acute psychiatric care with the psychiatric intensive therapy unit which will offer the highest level of care.

 

 

You can read more about the Strategy here https://deputyprimeminister.gov.mt/en/Documents/National-Health-Strategies/Mental_Health_Strategy_EN.pdf

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