ELSA Malta launch mental health policy paper

Both locally and internationally, the topic of Mental Health has in recent years been given the prominence it deserves. ELSA Malta’s Legal and Social Policy Committee, headed by this year’s Head of Social Policy, Liam Axisa, has decided to publish its own take on this issue, one which has been endorsed by now President Emeritus HE Marie Louise Coleiro Preca.

The policy paper aims to consider all facets of life which legislation on mental health would want to address. Such facets are; Education, Employment, Rights of Users and Carers, Integration and Wellbeing, Treatment and Financial Benefits. This paper also aimed to address all the relevant facets of mental health legislation when it comes to minors, with a section focusing entirely on children.

The team, made up of Neil Zahra, Nicole Abela, Joanne Attard, Philip Ellul, Alexia Pollacco, Katrina Sammut and Steve Vella looked into these facets with a comparative eye by considering countries such as the United Kingdom, Denmark and Norway; countries which placed at the top in the Mental Health and Integration Index by the Economist Intelligence Unit, ELSA Malta said.

The Committee also held interviews with various prominent NGOs which operate in Malta so as to get the perspective of those persons who are at the forefront in combating the stigma and providing help for persons who have mental health related issues.

The proposals near the end reflect what such persons and ELSA Malta see as being the most pressing issues to be tackled by the legislator. Above all, the publication aims to educate and enlighten legislators as to how current legislation is being implemented and encourage a revision of this where needed. This comparative context is what makes ELSA Malta’s paper a textbook example of its distinct ability to inform its audience and stand out in the academic sphere, the organisation said.