In recent months, we’ve been hearing about too many cases of people taking their own lives. Some of these are people who, on the surface, seemed to have it all together, but underneath were struggling with unseen demons. It’s a harsh reminder that mental health problems can affect anyone, regardless of their status, wealth, or appearance. These tragic events leave us feeling shocked, saddened, and helpless, as we wonder why and what could have been done to prevent it. It’s essential to understand that mental health is just as important as physical health and should be given the same level of attention and care.

Suicide is a severe public health problem and is amongst the leading cause of death, not only here in Malta but all over the world as well. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), nearly 800,000 people die from suicide every year, making it one of the leading causes of death worldwide. It’s estimated that for every suicide death, 20 others attempt suicide.

The rise in suicides in Malta highlights the need for better mental health support and the importance of taking mental health seriously. Mental health problems can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender, race, or social status.

One of the biggest obstacles in addressing mental health is the stigma attached to it. Many still believe mental health issues are a sign of weakness or something to be ashamed of. This stigma stops people from seeking help when they need it the most, leading to delayed treatment and a worsening condition. Raising awareness and educating people about the facts and realities of mental health problems can help reduce the stigma and encourage people to seek help.

Mental health education should start at a young age and schools and colleges play a significant role in this. Children should be taught about the importance of mental health and how to take care of their mental well-being, just like they are taught about physical health. Mental health education should also be integrated into the workplace to help employees learn about stress management, work-life balance, and how to maintain their mental health and well-being.

Along with education and awareness, access to mental health services is also crucial for those who need it. This includes access to trained mental health professionals, such as psychologists, psychotherapists, and psychiatrists. Mental health services should be affordable and accessible to everyone, regardless of their financial status, to ensure that everyone can get the help they need when they need it.

Another crucial aspect of addressing mental health is providing support and resources to those in need. This includes providing resources for those struggling with mental health problems and support for their families and loved ones. Having a supportive community that provides a safe and non-judgmental space for people to seek help and support is essential.

The rise in suicides in Malta highlights the importance of addressing mental health issues and raising awareness. We can all play a role by educating ourselves and others about mental health, reducing the stigma surrounding it, and making mental health services and support accessible to everyone. By working together, we can create a more supportive community and ensure that everyone has the resources and support they need to maintain their mental well-being and lead a happy and fulfilling life.

In this world of constant distraction, it’s essential to make time for our loved ones and be there for them in their time of need. Instead of ignoring the warning signs, we should be proactive and reach out to those who may be struggling with their mental health. A simple act of kindness, like making a warm cup of tea or coffee and spending the night talking, can mean the world to someone who is going through a difficult time. It’s much more fulfilling to be there for someone in their time of need than to attend their funeral and be left with so many questions and regrets.

So, if you’re going through a very difficult time, please reach out. Talk to a friend, family member, or professional who can help. You don’t have to suffer in silence. Help is available, and things can get better. It takes courage to admit that you need help, but it’s a crucial step towards healing and recovery.