'Nicholas Camilleri died because the system failed him' - Richmond Foundation

Nicholas Camilleri had been suffering from paranoid schizophrenia for the past 18 years • He was found dead in Għajn Tuffieħa after having been missing for a number of days

Nicholas Camilleri
Nicholas Camilleri

Richmond Foundation, an organisation working in the area of mental health said that Nicholas Camilleri died because the system failed him.

“A man died. He died because the system failed him. He was a vulnerable member of our society,” Richmond said in a statement on Thursday.

Camilleri was found dead in a room in Għajn Tuffieħa, after having been missing for a number of days. His family explained to the media that he had suffered from paranoid schizophrenia for 18 years.

They said that his psychiatrist had stopped his medication a few months ago, leading to a relapse, which ultimately lead to his death.

The foundation said that Camilleri died because his voice and that of his family were never heard, and because they never got the answers that they sought. “He died because he was just another case, another number, another statistic.”

Richmond said that people’s “poor mental health” was a pandemic that no one was talking about, with an unrelenting demand for help. It said that the situation was grevious because of how underfunded the sector was, during a time when people were struggling the most that they had suffered in decades.

“Richmond began to exist precisely to give people a voice, to give people dignity, respect, understanding and the life they deserve in the community, with the right support, advocacy, in unmarked small houses in residential neighbourhoods not in institutions.”

It said it supports people to avoid similar tragedies from happening. “No one should ever lose their life because they are carrying the burden of mental illness.”

Richmond pledged to continue its 30-year long fight for mental health services that care, value life and see the people for who they are, not just the illness they struggle with.

“We hope to remain in a position to prevent other senseless deaths; to support people when things seem bleak.”

It said that Malta needed to focus more on mental health and provide the right support services to suffering people and their families.

“We hope you rest in peace Nicholas. We shall not rest trying to make sure that this never happens again,” Richmond concluded.