The Leader of the Opposition Keith Azopardi has today written to the Chief Minister Fabian Picardo and Together Gibraltar Leader Marlene Hassan-Nahon to propose that Parliament should establish a cross-party Select Committee on Mental Health to report on such improvements to mental health provision in Gibraltar which it considers should be made
The issue of mental health and mental well-being is a big issue for this community. There should be a cross-party effort where we all strive to improve support and resources in mental health to ensure people are well looked after.
At the last meeting of Parliament, the Government confirmed that nearly 4000 people had been prescribed anti- depressants and anti-psychotics in 2019. Those statistics are of course only reflective of the public health services and do not reveal the statistics derived from the private medical sector. The complete picture could be more serious. This is only one manifestation of issues giving rise to concern. It is important to understand whether anything can be done to increase support in this area or to address causes.
NGOs and professionals working in the field do a sterling job but we think the time has come for us to take a holistic and cross-party approach to this key area.
Mr Azopardi said:
“We hope that other political leaders will support this GSD initiative and back the call for a cross-party effort in this area. A Select Committee could then take evidence from professionals and persons affected to hear their personal experiences of current services and views on how to improve this crucial area. Rather than detract from any work that the GHA or Government may itself be doing to improve public services any work done by the Select Committee on Mental Health will complement such work. The Committee can take a wide-ranging approach to this area and consider causes as well as consequences. This is not just about the services that should be there to support sufferers after the event. We also need to focus on creating a better lifestyle environment to minimise any external factors that contribute negatively to mental well-being. As a society the sooner we carry out this in-depth work the better.“