Relaunch the 24/7 Crisis Intervention Team and set up a national suicide support line, the Opposition is urging the government.

Launching a set of 18 proposals to fight mental health issues, PN spokesman Mario Galea said that one out of every four people in Malta suffered mental health issues.

However, only three out of every 10 people with depression actually looked for help.

The number of those who did not seek support was too high, and something needed to be done about it, he said at a press conference on Monday. 

Untreated depression remained the main cause of suicide, which worldwide cost a life every 40 seconds, Mr Galea said, adding that for every successful suicide there were another 20 attempts.

“In two years, mental health issues will be more common among the Maltese than cardiovascular diseases,” he said.

In light of the depletion of resources in the sector, the PN’s proposals include employing more professionals such as psychologists, psychotherapists and social workers.

It is also calling for more resources at the Mental Health Commissioner’s office and more 'psychiatric beds' within Mater Dei Hospital’s footprint.

PN MEP candidates Frank Psaila and David Stellini also addressed the conference.

PN’s mental health proposals

-Build a unit for children and adolescents that is equipped with the latest technology and which is not housed in Mount Carmel Hospital

-Launch a national study on the prevention of suicide, as requested by the EU

-Kick off a Zero Tolerance campaign about mental health stigma

-Set up a unit that supports relatives of people with mental health issues

-Ensure a mental health policy at every workplace

-Screen students so that those with mental health issues can start being treated from an early age

-Every local council should ensure one of its councillors is responsible for mental health issues within the community

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