Led by Prof. Josianne Scerri from the Department of Mental Health
An increase in the number of calls made to the mental health support line towards the end of the summer season was marked by added concern about COVID-19 and related family issues.
Of the 2,659 calls made between December 2019 and September 2020, requesting help, 1,033 calls were made in April, which corresponds with Malta’s first spike in COVID-19 cases, and then increased again towards the end of summer, with 154, 179, 259 and 260 in June, July, August and September respectively.
An analysis of these calls was made through a collaboration between the University of Malta’s Department of Mental Health and Richmond Foundation.
Prof. Josianne Scerri, Head of Department of Mental Health at the Faculty of Health Science, addressed a conference on Thursday, 22 October, held by Richmond Foundation.
She also gave a rundown of the nature of these calls, citing psychological distress, anxiety and depression as the most common reasons behind the calls made. This might have happened as the country was trying to get used to a new normal, and individuals were scared that this would bring up their pre-existing conditions.
As people got used to life during the pandemic, family issues caused a lot of distress as well – with parents worried about the new school year, others asking for support relating to the behaviour of family members and some expressing concern about the widespread violation of regulations.