Petition presented to Prime Minister Dr. Lorenz Gonzi
3266 Maltese citizens lobbying in favour of People with Mental Health problems
On Monday 1st November 2010, a delegation from Richmond Foundation met the Prime Minister, Dr Laurence Gonzi and Ms. Catherine Gonzi, who is also vice Chairperson of Richmond Foundation, at Castille. The deletion headed by Mr. Anthony Guillaumier, Chairperson, included Ms. Shirley Muscat, Trustee, Ms. Dolores Gauci, Chief Executive Officer and Mr. Holger Saliba, Operations Manager.
The Prime Minister was presented with a document containing the signatures of 3266 Maltese citizens who are lobbying the Government to change a number of issues connected with people who experience mental health problems. The petition organised by Richmond Foundation which was launched a few weeks ago and which received considerable media coverage raised a number of important issues which were affecting people with mental health problems and their carers. The delegation discussed at length with the Prime Minister the issues presented below:
1.There should be a national strategy on mental health. Depression will be the major condition with highest incidence by 2020. Such strategy should be communicated to people and effectively implemented.
2.The new Mental Health Act needs to be in place in order to promote and protect the fundamental rights of persons with mental health problems in institutions and in the community.
3.Persons with mental health problems experience various difficulties in accessing and remaining in the labour market. Professional support and coaching is needed to help individuals with mental health problems succeeding in the labour market. Employment is an important feature for the persons and appropriate and timely support is essential.
4.Persons with mental health problems should be entitled to medicines which are given by the state. So far only persons diagnosed with schizophrenia are entitled to receive such medicine. There are mental health problems that require medical treatment and such treatment is vital and yet they are not entitled to receive such medicines through state assistance.
During the presentation the Prime Minister discussed the main concerns raised by the Foundation. He referred to a recent government decision to review the list of illnesses that would make a person eligible for medicine through the national health service. This review is expected to benefit particularly persons with mental health problems. Richmond Foundation looks forward to seeing the realisation of such issues at the earliest. It is believed that these issues are fundamental and if adequately addressed, there will be a healthier Maltese community.
Richmond Foundation would like to thank all individuals who endorsed the petition thus supporting its claims. The Foundation will follow-up these matters and actively involve itself in the local and European policy making processes on issues which affect the mental health of the Maltese and European community.