Mario Galea opens Labour election event on mental health

Former Nationalist MP Mario Galea and former PN official Roselyn Borg Knight address Labour event on mental health spearheaded by Lydia Abela 

Former Nationalist MP Mario Galea has appeared in an event on mental health alongside the Prime Minister’s spouse Lydia Abela.

Galea was one of four PN candidates who withdrew their candidature on the first day of the 2022 general election campaign.

Galea insisted at the outset that his presence at a Labour Party event should not be instrumentalised, given his history as a Nationalist MP, but that he was lending his voice as a mental health sufferer to a cause he strongly believed in.

“I am not representing anyone. No one should be surprised that I am addressing a Labour Party press conference,” he said.

He insisted he was addressing the event to serve as a voice for the “thousands out there who are afraid to speak out on their condition.”

“I am here so mental health is still on the country’s agenda. I am not here to be used. I am here in the name of the thousands out there who are afraid to speak out because of the stigma that still surrounds mental health,” he said.

He said there was a “defining silence on mental health”. “Let’s work on normalizing mental health issues. A lot of people are suffering.”

In a Facebook post on Tuesday evening, Mario Galea said he attended the press conference to raise awareness of mental illness and suicide.

“Mental illness should not be politicised,” he said.

He also assured supporters he will remain a Nationalist. “I was born a Nationalist, I will die a Nationalist.”

Addressing the event, Deputy PM and Health Minister Chris Fearne said the party has a number of proposals which tackle mental health in its manifesto. He said government resources used on curing mental health problems, should be aimed at preventing them.

“One out of every four persons will suffer from mental health issues in their lifetime. That is why we have to start addressing at a very young age,” he said.

He also said government will continue working with unions to attract young people to the mental health profession by having specialized training and better conditions.

Fearne also urged unions in the health sector to be cautious when issuing trade disputes. “Your decisions could affect a lot of people.”

Also participating in the event was former PN International Secretary Roselyn Borg Knight who withdrew her candidacy in November.

She spoke on the importance of focusing on the wellbeing of the family. “When we are safeguarding children and youths, at the same time we’re giving peace of mind to parents. In this way, parents are more productive at work when they know that their children are safeguarded. This is one whole chain.”

She said it is extremely important to give the right tools to children and the youth to express themselves.