The Malta Chamber of Psychologists (MCP) adds its voice to that of Malta Union of Midwives and Nurses amongst others urging the government to recognize the pressing need to urgently improve the state of inpatient psychiatric care in Malta. 

We appreciate the efforts of the many dedicated professionals working at Mount Carmel Hospital who do their utmost to provide the best possible care in the setting they have at hand. We stand behind these professionals in their firm belief that people in mental health crises or suffering from severe and chronic mental health issues deserve to receive the treatment they need in a place that offers a sense of safety, dignity, and healing – something that Mount Carmel is unable to do. 

We also stand behind our members and other professionals who provide care at Mount Carmel Hospital. They deserve a working environment that supports the delicate and challenging work they do. There is little doubt that the present-day conditions negatively impact professionals’ wellbeing, which in turn negatively impacts their ability to tend to their patients. A study conducted in 2019 by Dr Patrick Barbara and Dr Aloisia Camilleri, found that one out of six mental health professionals working at Mount Carmel Hospital suffers from burnout. This is alarming, as burned out staff are likely to struggle to offer their clients the care they require. 

Addressing mental health requires the provision of an environment which transmits both physical and emotional safety. This is only possible, if mental health facilities are able to offer their residents reasonable privacy and comfort. In order to ensure that any new premises will be able to do this, the MCP expects that during their planning and construction professional bodies representing those who will be working in the new premises will be consulted on an ongoing basis.

Whilst it is reassuring that the government has declared its full commitment to delivering a new mental health hospital by 2025, the MCP asserts that government has a moral obligation to ensure that conditions are improved for those persons needing hospitalization within the next four years. The MCP therefore expects consultations with stakeholders to take place in the coming weeks to identify how this can be achieved. 

Unfortunately, at present the reputation of Mount Carmel hospital poses a real deterrent to people in mental health crises and their families to seek the services that they sorely need. In cases of acute self-harm or other severe mental health crises this may be a matter of life and death, where a decision to avoid hospitalization may have a tragic end. Families and individuals facing such desperate situations should be able to seek hospitalization without any hesitation, with absolute confidence that it is the right step towards better mental health. It is time to give these life-saving services the investment and attention they deserve.

To people in an acute mental health crises, hospitalization may be the best solution to a very difficult situation. Mount Carmel Hospital, the main facility providing inpatient psychiatric services in Malta, offers life-saving treatment to people in acute mental health crises. On the recommendation of a medical professional, hospitalization remains the safest option available.