“We have to stop using hurtful words which create an ‘us’ against ‘them’ environment”
On the occasion of World Mental Health Day, the President of Malta George Vella said he believes mental health should be given central importance in every aspect of life.
In a videeo clip on social media, the President said he believes in campaigns which focus on the balance between work, study and the family, and on those about the balance between progress, the preservation of open spaces and a clean environment, these being some of the factors which promote collective mental health.
The President stated that we have to stop using terminology, words and labels which are hurtful and create an environment of ‘us’ against ‘them’. Dr Vella added that these labels do not benefit anyone, but merely continue to enlarge the stigma and create an environment of lack of respect towards the affected persons and members of their families. The President explained that very often, these persons delay in seeking professional help, and unfortunately, this will continue to aggravate their medical condition.
President Vella further stated that the sense of economic uncertainty brought about by the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, together with a good number of restrictions and lack of contact with one’s nearest and dearest, are still creating tremors in our daily lives as well as stress levels the likes of which we have hardly ever experienced.
Whilst expressing his regrets at the loss of those who have succumbed to Covid-19, the President delivered a message of courage, particularly aimed at the elderly who are recovering in hospitals or in homes for the elderly and who therefore have less access to members of their families and friends. Dr Vella added he understands the difficulties are great, and the restrictions imposed by the health authorities, although necessary, create a sense of frustration, but these are temporry measures and are aimed at safeguarding our health.
For this reason, on World Mental Health Day the President emphasised the need that whilst safeguarding as much as possible our open spaces and striving for a clean environment, it is important to create an inclusive policy whch does not continue to look askance and negatively at problems related to mental health. President Vella added that through empathy and reciprocal respect, we can all make a big difference in the way we speak about and act with people with mental health problems.