Youth Mental Health in Malta

  • —Mental disorder is the major public health challenge in adolescents and young adults.
  • —1 in 5 teens and young adults live with a mental health condition.
  • —Half of all lifetime cases of diagnosable mental illness begin by age 14 and three-quarters of lifetime mental illness arise by mid-twenties. However,
  • —60–70% of children and adolescents with clinically significant mental health problems have not been offered evidence-based interventions at the earliest opportunity for maximal lifetime benefits.
  • —Unlike other health problems such as cancers and heart disease, most mental illness begins early and may persist over a lifetime, causing disability when those affected would normally be at their most productive.
  • —These statements justify a stronger focus on the mental health of persons aged less than 30 years.

Conclusions – person centred care

  • —Better mental health for our youth is an investment in the future of our society
  • —A balanced care approach with primary care-givers involved in early detection and intervention
  • —Adequate referral pathways to specialised services
  • —Access and rapidity of response are critical. Waiting times must be as short as possible.
  • —Services must reflect caring needs with step-up and step-down possibilities aimed at short, sharp focused interventions and rapid return to the normal life.
  • —Care models to  include life-skills building and work-training approaches in order to improve coping mechanisms.
  • The person requiring care must be at the centre of care and all significant others who can contribute must be involved.