With great sadness a mother has recounted how she lost her son through suicide while emphasising the importance of professional help in cases of personal crisis that may result in tragic consequences. The mother shared her experiences in the programme ‘Dissett’ which together with professionals from the psychiatric sector discussed the suicide rate, cases which although not publicised reach between two to three monthly.
The Association of Maltese Psychiatrists is urging that the problem of suicides no longer be swept under the carpet.
The mother who lost her son spoke frankly during ‘Dissett’ and stated she failed to interpret the signals her son was showing and that eventually led him to suicide.
She said she used to go up to his room to find him curled up in a ball with a hood over his head and when he took his food he wanted to eat in the dark. When she asked him what was the matter he would always reply “nothing” and she did not persist in asking not to annoy him.
Consultant Psychiatrist Dr Ethel Felice said the fact that a mother had spoken of a matter so intimate by recounting her experiences will help in removing the stigma of such a happening.
During the programme, Dr Ethel Felice and Dr Aloisia Camilleri explained that depressions and certain symptoms must not be ignored while Daniela Calleja Bitar from the Richmond Foundation urged that persons with thoughts of suicide should be confronted directly.
She said they should be asked point blank whether they had suicide in mind and that would make a person recognise that somebody understands how they feel.
Dr Camilleri said there were various means of seeking assistance, not only through taking pills.
She said that when a person imagines their problem is so great it sees no possible other alternative.
The psychiatrists said it is essential that those in a personal crisis and manifest the symptoms in various ways receive the necessary treatment, including those around them. This was also emphasised by the Commissioner for Mental Health, John Cachia.
He said this applies to close relatives, work colleagues, friends, family circles and society and these should make the person feel they are valued and understood despite their difficulties.
Those that seek to communicate and discuss their situation, or those persons around them, may contact Support Line 179 where they may speak to professionals and be assured of absolute confidentiality.