The Alliance for Mental Health (A4MH) has spoken out on the recent reports on Mount Carmel’s planned refurbishment, saying that while the proposed changes are welcome, it has serious concerns over Minister for Health Chris Fearne’s general plans for the mental health sector.
Still from the Malta Independent
The Alliance, comprised of the Richmond Foundation, the Mental Health Association, the Malta Psychiatric Association and the Malta Association of Psychiatric Nurses, echoed similar calls by the Malta Medical Students’ Association (MMSA) for long-term plans for both the mental health sector and for mental health facilities. This comes only days after the Alliance criticised the mental health sector’s “archaic setup”.
Speaking on the subject, the Alliance said “a long-term plan for Mount Carmel Hospital without reference to the committment to ‘build a new psychiatric hospital near Mater Dei hospital’ during the current legislature may be interpreted as a shift in focus to rehabilitating the current infrastructure at the expense of developing a new one. Improving standards is only one of the objectives of having a new psychiatric hospital – reducing stigma through mainstreaming of mental health acute services, by relocating them to the general hospital, is an equally pertinent objective.
The Alliance also addressed the need for far-reaching goals for the overall mental health sector, admitting that while emulating other countries is a good practice, real change would come through employees working in this same sector. “A4MH brings together all stakeholders, representing the four social pillars relevant to the mental health sector; namely, the patient, the family carers, the professionals, and the employers.”
Furthermore, the Alliance referenced the World Health Organisation (WHO) Mental Health Action Plan for 2013-2020, to which Malta is a subscriber, highlighting the need to shift from stressing the hospital and focusing on appropriately-funded and resourceful community services.
“A4MH calls upon the Minister for Health to clarify the government’s plans for the mental health sector, and looks forward to being part of the process of drawing up and implementing an national strategy for the mental health sector in Malta.”