President of Malta George Vella said that two of the biggest challenges psychiatric nurses must cope with are those coming from degenerative mental conditions, and those developing because of the ever-increasing stress our modern way of living is having on our mental faculties. This is not excluding conditions resulting from excessive use of alcohol and other addictive substances.
Addressing the opening ceremony of the ‘Horatio Congress 2023: Reuniting Mental Health Nurses – Sharing Knowledge, Cultivating Experiences’, President Vella commended the initiative between Horatio – European Psychiatric Nurses and the Maltese Association of Psychiatric Nurses (MAPN) to share and cultivate knowledge between Mental Health Nurses and Mental Health Professionals from all over Europe.
“This is what is meant when we say that health is a universal right to all citizens and that medical and nursing knowledge should be freely shared to achieve one of the most important sustainable development goals: SDG 3, which states that we have to ‘ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all ages’”, President Vella remarked.
The President stated that nursing as a profession is a vocation for the kind-hearted as it takes disposition, an aptitude, and a readiness to help others to serve when most needed and a fortitude and magnitude big enough to transmit to others. “Mental health nurses have to be made of sterner stuff,” the President added.
Referring to mental health and the stigma past generations attached to it, the President noted that today there is much more awareness, which has helped reduce, if not completely remove, this stigma. “Because of the availability of more specific medicines and selectively targeting the symptoms, rather than relying on ‘umbrella’ therapy, the prospects of healing and getting over the condition and back to normality have improved considerably”, he noted, while stating that treatment has become more humane, less punishing, less drastic, and more socially acceptable, and promising of good results.
President Vella congratulated MAPN for actively trying to improve and recognise the roles and standards of psychiatric nursing in Malta with the aim to empower, educate, and strengthen the role of the nurse in mental health.