Medical Students Release Statement On Malta's Mental Health Care Practices
Their concerns include legislation, education and human rights violations
The Malta Medical Students’ Association (MMSA) has released an official statement expressing concern over mental health and the situation Malta finds itself in at present. Lovin Malta got in touch with the MMSA for a comment. "In light of recent events surrounding mental health care, as well as attitude towards mental health, we felt the need to release this statement. It contains recommendations for all stakeholders in society- ranging from policy makers to the members of the community."
"There has been a great deal of progress in this field over the past few years, with more awareness and services available to persons with mental health issues," the statement reads. "However, [...] it is clear that the current system is failing those who need it most and that a lot of work still needs to be done. Persons suffering from mental illness, including but not limited to vulnerable groups such as adolescents and those with chronic illness require the community and health care services to be present holistically to provide optimal aid, care and support."
Facilities such as Mount Carmel [...] with substandard facilities and lack of proper staff training [contribute] to the growing problem of inadequate Mental Health care.MMSA statement dated 15.02.18
The MMSA also addressed the need for a review of legislative procedures, current healthcare practices and local education on mental health issues. Their efforts hope end discrimination against people with mental health illness as well as ensuring no breach of human rights. "Mental health legislation should ensure that people suffering from mental health illness are not stigmatised or isolated. Facilities such as Mount Carmel have also been the subject of controversy in recent years, with substandard facilities and lack of proper staff training contributing to the growing problem of inadequate mental health care."
On the lack of education, the association had the following words. "This form of negligence is worrisome given the prevalence of high rates of mental illness in adolescents. In order to build a foundation for a proper Mental Health service in our country, work needs to be targeted to young age groups."
This is not the first time the MMSA has addressed the issue on a national level. Just last year, the association released a policy paper on mental health awareness, which has now been reworked to address the current climate.
The MMSA has presented a six-point plan with recommendations on how to implement a national strategy that targets both the community and the national health service. This full plan (which can be seen above) covers integrating mental health care with the general health service, including the transferring of facilities to Mater Dei Hospital, creating guidelines for standardised mental health education, and introducing mental health primary care.
"As future healthcare professionals, we believe that we have the responsibility to utilise our education to promote positive change and society, and so we believe that it is time to ensure that mental health is given the importance it deserves," MMSA told Lovin Malta. "This is the responsibility of every single member of society."