Mental health deserves more investment and this includes addressing the state of the “infamous” Mount Carmel Hospital, according to an alliance of  practitioners. 

“One cannot even begin to compare the investment in our general hospital to the crumbs our mental health facility gets,” the Alliance 4 Mental Health, which is made of the Richmond Foundation, the Mental Health Association, the Maltese Association of Psychiatry and the Maltese Association of Psychiatric Nurses, said.

This investment should go beyond Mount Carmel Hospital, it stressed.

It said significant investment in community mental health is a priority and the focus should now turn to implementing the 10-year mental health strategy that had been slowed down by the COVID-19 crisis.

Emergency and crisis services needed to be established and, ultimately, an up-to-standard inpatient setting needed to be in place so that people who required hospitalisation “could have this in a dignified, appropriate and deserving place”.

Mount Carmel Hospital is becoming more and more infamous as time goes by

The alliance said that, over the years, Mount Carmel Hospital – the only place where people can be hospitalised and receive care for severe mental health problems – had received much criticism. 

“Mount Carmel Hospital is becoming more and more infamous as time goes by,” they said.

“It is no secret that this 160-year-old building, with beautiful gardens and ancient structures, is not serving well for mental health care in Malta…. nonetheless, Mount Carmel Hospital remains a necessity for a significant number of people, whether to serve its purpose as a psychiatric facility or as the main mothership from where professionals have to provide therapeutic interventions to people with mental ill health,” the alliance said. 

Concerns for mental health patients have been growing since the closure of Mater Dei Hospital’s psychiatric unit last year, a move which had an “overwhelming” effect on care.

Last month, the Malta Union of Midwives and Nurses slammed the authorities for a lack of investment in Mount Carmel Hospital, saying wards at the mental institution continue to be closed for refurbishment, never to reopen.

There have been calls for a temporary mental health hospital to be provided until the promised new one next to Mater Dei is up and running by 2025.

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