Accessing mental health care in Malta and Gozo

Dialogues in Psychiatry

Dr Martha Apap Bologna provides a detailed overview on how to access mental health services in Malta and Gozo

This post is intended to facilitate reaching out for help in Malta and Gozo. It is applicable to persons encountering difficulties and to their families. It is not a replacement for accessing in-person care, or a replacement for medical advice.

I / my loved one am / is having difficulty coping. Who can I reach out to?

Online services:

  • – Website run in public social partnership between SOSMalta and the Ministry for the Family and Social Solidarity. Available through email, online chat, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Instagram.
  • OLLI Chat – Online mental wellbeing support team run by Richmond Foundation (NGO)

Telephone lines:

  • 1579 – Mental Health Helpline run by Mental Health Services (NHS)
  • 1770 – Mental Health Helpline run by Richmond Foundation (NGO)
  • 21 228 333 – Victim Support Malta (NGO) providing clients with emotional and practical support in overcoming trauma following a crime

In-person services:

Speak to your Family Doctor / General Practitioner. Alternatively, attend a Health Centre in your locality. Health Centres open 24/7 are: Paola HC; Floriana HC and Mosta HC.

This is a crisis and I need to get help ASAP because of safety concerns.

Consider attending A and E – mental health professionals are available 24/7.

It would be best to be referred by your GP or family doctor to limit waiting time.

What services may my GP recommend?

After assessing you, your doctor may refer you to:

  • A Community Mental Health Centre. This is an out-patient service where you will meet your psychiatrist and possibly other members of the mental health team, including psychologists, social workers, occupational therapists, physiotherapists and nutritionists.
  • A and E. This is an emergency department visit where you will be able to speak to a member of the mental health team.

What if I / my loved one need /s inpatient care?

Your family doctor / GP, or the mental health team at A and E or at your Community Mental Health Centre may arrange admission to Mount Carmel Hospital (Malta) or to Short- or Long- Stay Unit (Gozo General Hospital). This may be on a voluntary basis (the individual agrees that admission to inpatient care is necessary) or under the Mental Health Act (if the individual is experiencing severe mental illness, poses a risk to themselves or to other persons, and community supports are not sufficient to ensure adequate care).

Persons admitted to inpatient Mental Health Care are able to receive visits from friends and family when they are well enough to do so. Smartphones and mobile phones cannot be kept on the individual’s person during inpatient care, to safeguard the safety and privacy of the individual and other inpatients. Persons admitted to Mount Carmel Hospital and to Short or Long-Stay Unit, GGH are able to receive phone calls from external lines.

I / my loved one has an addiction problem. How can I get help?

Persons who are experiencing addiction problems may find support with controlling or ceasing to use substances from SEDQA (helpline 179), CARITAS (telephone 22 199 000) and OASI (telephone 21 563 333). A number of different services are available, ranging from residential rehab to evening programmes and community outreach services.

If you are experiencing addiction problems as well mental health difficulties, a walk-in service is available at Substance Misuse Outpatient Unit (SMOPU), St Luke’s Hospital. This is a community-based medical service. The doctors who run this service may recommend meeting mental health professionals according to the individual’s specific requirements.

Persons seeking help with gambling problems, and their families, may benefit from making contact with Gluecksfall aka. EU Association for the Prevention of Addiction (EAPA): Telephone 79 333 374.

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