Thank you to Shaun Portelli (Form 5 student) who cooperated to fulfill this YRE article project.
Mental Illness Awareness Week is commemorated from the 6th till the 12th of October and this year, World Mental Health Day and National Depression Screening Day is commemorated on the 10th of October.
On Wednesday October 9, 2019, St. Margaret College Verdala School Queen’s Young Leaders Group assembled with their group founder and teacher, Martin Azzopardi sdc, to raise awareness about mental health among students at school.
St Margaret Queen’s Young Leaders Group was founded in 2014 and each year student members are inspired by the speeches of H.M. Queen Elizabeth II to write and publish articles promoting moral and social values. On World Mental Health Day, St Margaret College students focussed their attention on statistics about mental health in Malta as quoted by The Times of Malta newspaper (dated 10th Oct. 2019)
The Times of Malta says that the Maltese Association of Psychiatry and the Association of Public Health Medicine In Malta report that there are about 20 suicides in men and two in women yearly in Malta. These associations have called for more awareness on mental health and for action plans to reduce suicides by 10 per cent by 2020, in line with World Health Organisation recommendations.
In fact this year the World Mental Health Day is focusing on suicide prevention saying that every suicide can be prevented and this issue needs to be tackled urgently.
Surely there are a number of measures that can be taken to reduce suicides, including early identification, treatment and care of people with mental and substance use disorders, chronic pain and acute emotional distress; reducing access to the means of suicide; and training further non-specialized health workers.
The Maltese Association of Psychiatry and the Malta Association of Public Health Medicine In Malta insist saying that raising community awareness and breaking down the taboo to access help for ourselves or for others, is vitally important in preventing suicide.
St Margaret Queen’s Young Leaders Group found out that unfortunately many people do not seek help in the early stages of mental illnesses because they don’t recognize the symptoms. (See: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/mental-illness/symptoms-causes/syc-20374968)
Quoting the www.helpguide.org the 7 major mental health conditions are Anxiety, Bipolar Disorder, Psychosis, Eating Disorders, Depression, PTSD, and Addiction/Substance Use Disorder.
Taking a mental health screening is one of the quickest and easiest ways to determine whether you are experiencing symptoms of a mental health condition. Screening helps catch problems early. A screening is not a diagnosis, but it can be a helpful tool for starting a conversation with your doctor or psychiatrist about your mental health.
Education and schools must contribute to create a mentally healthy environment for children and young people. St Margaret Queen’s Young Leaders Group is calling on all those involved in education to address seriously the issue of mental health in schools and deliver an effective change.
This project aims to reach two of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: Good Health and Well-being, and Quality Education.