The Malta Independent 4 December 2023, Monday
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Mental health services to be provided during EuroPride

Saturday, 2 September 2023, 10:59 Last update: about 3 months ago

Across the 10 days of activities planned for EuroPride Valletta 2023 that begin next Thursday, special attention shall be given towards mental health and support services for those who need them.

Parliamentary Secretary for Reforms and Equality Rebecca Buttigieg explained how through a collaboration with Richmond Foundation and the Rainbow Support Service (MGRM) – specifically by the Triton Fountain within the EuroPride Village – professional services shall be provided to people who require psychological support or aid from social workers.


In a meeting with the coordinator of the Rainbow Support Service Colette Farrugia Bennett and Richmond Foundation’s Acting CEO Daniela Calleja Bitar, Parliamentary Secretary Buttigieg said that these services may be necessary since EuroPride may generate a lot of anxiety for people who are yet to establish their identity. She continued that many people may be going through an identity crisis with their families, while others may feel victimized and even bullied by comments received through social media as a result of prejudices and heterophobia.

The Rainbow Support Service’s coordinator Colette Farrugia Bennett indicated that through her 10-year experience of working with persons from the LGBTIQ+ community and their families, she recognizes that these people are more exposed to mental health challenges and facing unfair social stigma as part of belonging to this minority.

Farrugia Bennett continued saying that while the local situation in this regard has improved through equality legislation, social challenges still remain that have yet to be addressed. She stated that EuroPride should be the occasion to address these issues.

The Acting Chief Executive of Richmond Foundation, Daniela Calleja Bitar, appealed for more sensitivity towards the LGBTIQ+ community, describing how certain comments deriving from prejudice can have serious consequences on those vulnerable people who are still unsure about their own sexual identity.

Parliamentary Secretary Buttigieg said that in this context, through these services, a priority towards mental health should be made during EuroPride. She elaborated that existing prejudices against the LGBTIQ+ community are still derived from false perceptions, and therefore, more education is required to tackle this mentality and these divisive attitudes.

She concluded by saying that EuroPride – which Malta is hosting its 29th edition – is a celebration of love and of the advances made in favour of equality.

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