The Malta Independent 3 February 2023, Friday
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Psychiatrists concerned over attempts to differentiate between physical and mental health

Tuesday, 29 November 2022, 19:04 Last update: about 3 months ago

The Maltese Association of Psychiatry (MAP) has expressed concern over ongoing attempts to differentiate between physical health and mental health in the debate over government's bill to amend abortion laws.

"MAP believes that healthcare needs to be holistic in its approach, and that a person cannot be truly healthy without all major systems functioning appropriately. Laws and policy makers need to begin to approach the concept of health by taking all aspects into consideration when creating services, writing laws, and proposing system development. The MAP notes that until the deputy prime minister's encouraging words on Monday 28th, this approach has been largely inexistent in Malta."


"MAP is also seriously concerned that women's mental health and mental health assessment is being discussed or intimated in the current debates, including by the deputy prime minister, but that psychiatrists, who are the experts in this field, and are also the professionals who would predictably be expected to contribute primarily to decision-making in individual cases, have not been included nor invited to discussions in which our insights can help guide the debate before irreversible decisions are made."

"We would like to clarify that mental disorders are among the most prevalent, distressing and devastating of all illnesses, and people suffering from them should not have their experiences trivialised. However, mental illness, in this day and age is also largely treatable. Mental illness should not be considered in isolation during such a serious debate. And mental illness should not be considered separately from other illnesses, that is to say: if the criteria for termination are to be considered the threat of loss of maternal life, then that should equally be the standard for psychiatric illness."

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