President of Malta George Vella expressed his concern at the fact that the stark majority of the young people responding to the first study on Young People’s Mental Health reported that they would rely on social media for support or to seek advice for their issues.
Addressing a seminar entitled ‘Taking Care of our Youth’s Mental Health’ organised jointly by the Office of the President and Richmond Foundation, President Vella stated that it is striking how an overwhelming majority of youths experience or feel that they are affected by anxiety. Expressing concern that there are young people who have a pessimistic outlook about their future, the President urged that we need to assure our young people that it is okay not to be okay at all times. In this regard, President Vella remarked that organisations like Richmond Foundation and others are out there to provide young people with tools to overcome such insecurities and have enough confidence in their abilities to build a better future on both a personal and professional level.
The President noted that the study clearly shows that youths’ happiness and wellbeing are directly related to the support received primarily from their families followed by their friends. Thus, he urged that parents and guardians need to be equipped with means and tools to be able to ensure that the teens and young adults in their care feel truly supported and understood. President Vella also stated that he was struck by how many girls, from a very young age, feel hopeless and anxious in what they do, be it work or study.
During his introductory speech, President Vella said that the Youth Mental Health Barometer conducted by the Richmond Foundation, is a much-needed databank that will serve as a basis to address the needs of the age group under study (13-year-olds to mid-20s), which is the pillar of our society, both now, and in the future. The President emphasised that the wellbeing of young people is to have a central feature in all our policies.