His Excellency George Vella this morning presided over a seminar entitled ‘Taking Care of our Youth’s Mental Health’ organised jointly by Richmond Foundation and the Office of the President of Malta. During the seminar the Foundation launched the findings of a Barometer of Youth Mental Health. In the research 70% of all respondents aged between 13 and 25 years reported feelings of anxiety. The Foundation highlighted how the demand for its services by young people had registered a drastic increase of more than 1000%, over the past two years. In response, Richmond has, through an ESF funded project prepared educational material for young persons, and training for parents and professionals working with young people with mental health issues. A dedicated website is available at https://www.ankrayouth.org/. The Foundation also launched a fund-raising campaign, supported by a wide range of media houses, which will run through the next 4 weeks. The funds will enable Richmond to reach more young people experiencing mental health challenges.
During his speech, His Excellency reiterated the importance of mental health prevention in youth, and the significance of changes to our youth’s lives to their social and emotional development.
The seminar was addressed by a number of professionals active within the mental health and youth sectors. Prof Josianne Scerri provided the main findings of the Youth Mental Health Barometer, while Dr Natalie Kenely delved into the emotional life of young people, highlighting aspects of their resilience, as well as their general reluctance to seek help. Ms Miriam Theuma delved into the challenges experienced by young people.
During the second part Dr Nigel Camilleri spoke of the challenges faced by the national mental health services with particular reference to youth, while Dr Rachael Scicluna explored the importance of the environment on youth mental health. Ms Emma Micallef Darmenia shared her experience as a young person who makes use of mental health services.
During the past two years, demand for Richmond’s services by young people has increased ten-fold. Support provided to other age groups has also doubled since 2021. The provision of free professional services incurs significant costs, so financial help is essential for Richmond to be able to continue to support young people experiencing mental health challenges. Through the public’s help Richmond will be able to sustain its free services to young people and their families.
 ESF02.147 Mental Health Centre for Young persons and their Families