The Richmond Foundation’s 21-year activity on behalf of mentally disabled persons has earned it the recognition of being awarded the European Citizen Prize.
20 years ago, more than today, society look on being mentally disabled as a stigma but organisations like the Richmond Foundation since then have brought about a greater understanding and have greatly decreased the marginisation of people with a mental illness.
The Richmond Foundat was founded in 1993 with a mission to offer services to the mentally disabled with a prevention programme and projects deal with the illness of such persons at places of work.
The Foundation’s Chairman Anthony Guillaumier said at the time the necessity was felt that the subject be treated in a different manner and the first project was established at Villa Chelsea in Birkirkara which became the first half-way house in the community and from that initial project many other services had emerged.
Guillaimier said the greatest challenge faced by the 55 full-time employees was securing the necessary funds to continue increasing the resources in an area that was continually increasing. He welcomed the 2015 award with great satisfaction and said this was appropriate recognition for the Foundation’s efforts to provide a better quality of life for persons with mental disabilities.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) by 2020 mental illness around the world would be the major sector of a human illness and its causes, including depression.
The Chairman said that the fast pace of life, IT, telecommunications, industrial and economic conditions, losing one’s employment, losing one’s house and marital separations were all creating stresses and dictating a lifestyle causing mental illness.
Hence, the Chairman continued, the necessity for the Foundation to continue increasing its services. Besides Villa Chelsea, the Foundation also has a residence for children with behavioural difficulties, two hostels for men, a residence for women and 25 apartments and in the near future will open a hostel for women.