Individual ‘at heart’ of legislation safeguarding mental health sufferers

Health Commissioner lauds outgoing President of the Republic for placing mental health on top of country’s agenda.

Chief Justice Silvio Camilleri and Health Minister Godfrey Farrugia
Chief Justice Silvio Camilleri and Health Minister Godfrey Farrugia

The need for a structured and a clear vision that will influence legislation for the safeguarding of the rights and interests of mental health sufferers was outlined in a seminar organised by the Office of the Commissioner for Mental Health and Older Persons.

The seminar, organised at Verdala Palace under the patronage of the President of the Republic, brought together professionals from various sectors, including employers, lawyers, healthcare professionals, legislators and individuals from the finance and banking sectors.

Addressing the seminar, Health Minister Godfrey Farrugia said it was vital that all necessary steps are taken before healthcare professionals decide that a sufferer is incapable of taking decisions.

"When an individual loses his mental capacity, he is unable to control his life. But many a times, healthcare professionals are not patient enough in taking their time to assist patients with mental disorders. This implies that they jump into significant incorrect conclusions," he said.

On his part, EU Health Commissioner Tonio Borg explained that the Commission refrained from imposing health laws on member states. Recently, however, mental health has been given more political importance.

In October 2012, the EU issued a directive of the minimum standards against victims with mental health disorders.

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Anglu Farrugia, said that more good practices and policies are essential on this subject matter.

Mental Health Commissioner John Cachia expressed his gratitude to President George Abela for striving to place mental health on top of the national agenda.

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