Current Affairs
“Mental health challenges should have equal importance to physical health”

Mental Health Commissioner John Cachia said that mental health challenges should be given the same importance as physical health, that services should be closer to the community, and that acute mental health service should move to Mater Dei as soon as possible. Commissioner Cachia, who retires from the post next week, launched a virtual directory about entities and organisations that offer services in the sector.

The initiative on the mental wellbeing in the community lists 28 organisations who provide services in the community and residential services for persons with mental health challenges. Information may be accessed through the Facebook page or the website of the Commissioner for Mental Health Office.

Dr Cachia has served as Mental Health Commissioner for the past 10 years. He spoke about the various changes during these years. “The first aim was to change and renew the legal framework on the mental health services. The first point concerned the rights of patients and families, and that all that is done with the patients is regulated, especially that relating to the treatment against the will of the person. To respect the human dignity of the person”.

Dr Cachia remarked that in recent years the voice of people in issues connected with mental health was further strengthened.

“We link this with transport, environment, our life and what we felt during the pandemic………with what we eat, with exercises and all phases of our lives”.

Dr Cachia says that in the future mental health challenges should be given the same importance as physical health, that the services should be nearer to the community and acute mental health service should move to Mater Dei as soon as possible. “Dignified long term care services….and lastly the stigma, discrimination and prevention for a healthier life away from mental health challenges”.

Dr Dennis Vella Baldacchino has been appointed as the new Mental Health Commissioner.