The Malta Independent 26 June 2022, Sunday

Nicholas Camilleri death: A preventable tragedy, a failure of the system – Richmond Foundation

Thursday, 23 June 2022, 13:11 Last update: about 3 days ago

Nicholas Camilleri died because his family’s voices were not heard and the system failed him, Richmond Foundation said on Thursday.

Camilleri was found dead earlier this week, days after he went missing.

His family told The Malta Independent that Camilleri, who had battled schizophrenia for almost two decades, took a turn for the worse after he was taken off his medication without their knowledge.

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“A man died.  He died because the system failed him. He was a vulnerable member of our society. He died because his and his family’s voices were not heard. He died because those who loved him were not allowed to get the answers they sought, to contribute their perspective of the situation,” the foundation said. “He died because he was just another case, another number, another statistic.”

“This is the pandemic no one talks about – people's poor mental health due to a plethora of stressful life situations has led to an unrelenting demand for help. Yet, saying the sector is severely underfunded doesn't even begin to explain how grave the situation is, just when people are struggling the most they have been in decades.”

The foundation said it was founded precisely to give people a voice, to give people dignity, respect, understanding and the life they deserve in the community, with the right support, advocacy, in unmarked small houses in residential neighbourhoods not in institutions.  “We support people throughout their life journey to avoid something like this from happening, because no one should ever lose their life because they are carrying the burden of mental illness.” 

“Nicholas, we're so sorry the system failed you, and failed your family. Richmond will continue to fight against precisely this type of injustice as we have been doing for nearly 30 years.  We will continue to fight for mental health services that care, value life and see the people for who they are, not just the illness they struggle with. We hope to remain in a position to prevent other senseless deaths; to support people when things seem bleak.”

Richmond said the country needs to recognise how important mental health is and give it the attention it deserves. People need to find the right services to support them and their families when they are suffering.

“A man died. We hope you rest in peace Nicholas.  We shall not rest trying to make sure that this never happens again.”

 

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