Maltese are paying price of economic growth with mental health, PN says

According to a Eurofound report, one in five youths between the ages of 18 and 24 are at risk of depression, the third-highest rate in Europe

The Nationalist Party said that the services, facilities and infrastructure of the mental health sector are heartbreaking
The Nationalist Party said that the services, facilities and infrastructure of the mental health sector are heartbreaking

Not only are the Maltese people not enjoying the benefits of an increased economic growth but they are also paying for it with their mental health, the Nationalist Party said.

The PN was quoting a recent study by the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (Eurofound) which concluded that one in every five youths in Malta between the ages of 18 and 24 are at risk of depression, the third-highest rate in Europe. 

"It's unfortunate that mental health is not being taken seriously with the result that the Maltese nation is being exposed to increased risks. In the midst of bragging about economic growth, one study after another shows that the economic growth is being paid for by the people's mental health," the PN said in a statement on Sunday.

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The study said that 22% of youths between 18 and 24 are at risk of depression. The PN said that this was worrying and a reflection of the government's failure in this sector.

"In the last six years of this government's administration, not only has this sector not improved but it unfortunately regressed. The services, facilities and infrastructure of the mental health sector are heartbreaking and are a testament to the lack of priority this government gives to this sector.

"Screening at schools would help to identify the first symptoms of mental illness. In fact, screening among 14-year-olds shows that 50% are already showing signs of mental illness. When these youths get to their 20s, 75% will be showing symptoms," the PN said.

It added that the opposition has been asking government for such screening for years and that mental health doesn't end with clinical therapy but is reflected in other aspects of Maltese governance especially with respect to the quality of life.

"The deterioration of the Maltese quality of life is not contested, the fruit of economic policies built on the exploitation of every open space Malta has to offer, excessive consumption, a lack of safeguarding of working conditions and the use of foreign workers to maintain low wages," the PN said.

The party promised that it would be pushing for a radically different kind of politics that centres around people.

"At the doorstep of 2020, Malta deserves a serene and happy lifestyle, a clean environment where the health of the family takes priority over money," the PN said. 

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