The Schedule V (yellow health card) list has been extended to include more chronic mental health problems. Up till now only persons with schizophrenia were eligible to receive the appropriate treatment for free, however, with the announced amendment, social justice is served.
Psychiatric medication is expensive and it could be unaffordable even for persons who are not eligible for the pink card (schedule II). Richmond Foundation is fully aware that such change has been the result of months-long ongoing discussions between Ministry of Health, the Elderly and Community Care and the (then) Ministry for Education, Employment and the Family.
"This is a very important stepping stone in community mental health in Malta and Gozo. The Foundation has lobbied for such change for years and therefore such news is received with great satisfaction," it said in a statement.
In 2010, Richmond Foundation organized a petition and collected 3266 signatures urging the Government to amend and expand the eligibility criteria of Schedule V. The petition was presented to the Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi on 1st November 2010.
Richmond Foundation believes that service users should be at the centre of our psychiatric services. It promotes legislation and policies that respect and enhance the rights of service users. Right-based legislation and policies tackle the prevalent stigma which is still a major issue within our society at large even though 25% of the Maltese population experience mental health problems per year.