The dilapidated van with the words ‘Monte Carmeli taxi’ painted on its bodywork stole the scene at the Nadur Carnival, and led to a hot debate as to whether the van with this text should have been part of the reign of merrymaking.
Whilst a number of persons were shocked, and even hurt, with the van even having words like ‘crazy’ and even ‘sick people’ painted on it, others argued that everything should be acceptable during Carnival, and that one simply cannot censure everything that might cause annoyance.
Others expressed the opinion that whoever came up with this van could possibly have intended to deliver a message about the way society regards those suffering from mental health.
Coincidentally, or possibly not so, the song chosen to represent Malta in the Eurovision Song Contest, Taboo, is exactly about the stigma associated with mental health.
In a post on Facebook, the singer Christabelle said scenes like these convince her to work even harder to break down the taboo about mental health.
Meanwhile, TVM spoke about this issue with the Commissioner for Mental Health, Dr John Cachia, who reiterated that this van could not be considered as satire, but rather, as a despicable act.
Dr Cachia further stated that this situation shows the authorities have to continue to work to urge those suffering from mental problems to seek help, as well as for the stigma associated with mental health to be overcome.
Dr Cachia referred to the pain endured by mental health sufferers, as well as to parents who know that the only place where their children can receive treatment is considered a source of humour and levity.
This is the full comment by the Commissioner for Mental Health: