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GSD pledges ‘radical’ action on mental health services

Johnny Bugeja

The GSD pledged a “radical” plan to help boost mental health services in Gibraltar, as the party marked World Mental Health Day yesterday.

Party leader Keith Azopardi and candidates Joelle Ladislaus and Orlando Yeats put forward proposals to improve Gibraltar’s health and care services, including a Care Quality Commission that will independently monitor and audit standards of care.

Mr Azopardi described mental health care as the “Cinderella of health services” and with that in mind he said the party will look at providing care on all levels.

This will include providing an A&E mental health service at Ocean Views, while also increasing mental health offerings for youngsters to help them with social media addictions.

“What we are not doing as a society globally and locally is to counter the negative effects and the draining effects of constantly being online,” Mr Azopardi said.

“This has an effect on young people’s focus, constant attachment, it can lead to anxiety and depression and bullying online.”

Mrs Ladislaus said: “We are breaking down barriers on mental health and not keeping it taboo.”

The GSD’s policies on mental health “permeate” all other policies on health and care, such as the drugs strategy, dementia care, people with disabilities and physical health as well.

In addition, the GSD will offer counselling to pregnant women at all stages throughout their pregnancy.

The GSD has in the past strongly criticised the recently-passed abortion legislation in Gibraltar, adding that this will “permit UK-style abortion on demand”.

Mr Azopardi said: “There are three very distinct positions on abortions.”

The legislation that was passed by parliament in July saw that a referendum will be held if the GSLP/Liberals were to come back in power.

The GSD said it will repeal this legislation meanwhile its political rivals in Together Gibraltar has said the legislation will come into immediate effect if Marlene Hassan Nahon’s part is elected into power.

The GSD will put forward a law that will “protect the rights the unborn child subject only to limited exceptions in cases of rape, incest, fatal foetal abnormality or risk of life to the mother”.

In addition, Mr Azopardi said the GSD said it will “streamline the process for adoptions” by facilitating the process and help the couple through the bureaucratic process.

Under the GSD Government healthcare in Gibraltar was radically changed, Mr Azopardi told reporters, and this will be repeated if the party is once-again elected on October 17.