We are treating people not psychiatric conditions – Mental Health Commissioner urges people to break the silence on suicide

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Mental Health Commissioner Dr Cachia urged mental health professionals to look beyond data and reflect on stigma. We need to break the silence, he reiterated, referring to “pleas” from young people to speak about suicide.

We are treating people, not psychiatric conditions, and each one of us plays a role in ending stigma and changing societal approaches to suicide, he said.

Four out of every five people who died by suicide jumping off bastions did so in the morning, suggesting the need for police patrols at that time of day, a conference was told on Thursday.

The Times reports Senior Inspector Melvyn Camilleri saying that data could help officers prevent suicide. Among others, statistics show that between 2003 and 2017, some 16 people had jumped off bastions, 13 of whom died between 5.45am and 9am.

He suggested the deployment of more police officers patrolling such areas during these hours. Insp. Camilleri was addressing a conference on suicide prevention and self-harm behaviour organised by the Maltese Association of Psychiatry.

Mental Health Commissioner Dr Cachia also warned professionals that they were not immune to stress, especially considering their exposure to an environment where they had to care for other people.

He also recounted how the stigma surrounding a woman who was being treated at Mount Carmel Hospital drove her young nephew to suicide.

“A woman told a radio live audience that her son, who committed suicide a year ago, was the life and soul of his group of friends, but quite a loner at home, allowing no one to step into his bedroom.”

The caller said that her son died by suicide because an aunt, a patient at Mount Carmel, was spoken about by those who knew her in a deriding manner. This behaviour discouraged the young man from seeking support.”

Via The Times of Malta

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