System failed Nicholas Camilleri and family, mental health foundation says
The suicide of a man overcome by paranoid schizophrenia months after his medication was reduced and he was allowed to live alone was a “preventable tragedy”, Malta’s leading mental health charity has said.
Richmond Foundation echoed the words of Nicholas Camilleri’s family in a statement, saying: “The system failed him”.
“He was a vulnerable member of our society. He died because his and his family’s voices were not heard,” the Foundation, which supports people who experience mental health problems said.
The 55-year-old father-of-three was found dead by one of his sons in Għajn Tuffieħa on Saturday.
After his family opened up about the circumstances surrounding the death, their story has been met with an outpouring of support and public anger over the situation.
Rita Camilleri and her son Daniel Nicholas described to Times of Malta how Nicholas was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia 18 years ago but rapidly went deteriorated this year.
The family say his medication was reduced a few months ago without informing relatives. In January, he violently attacked his wife with a chisel and was charged in court with attempted murder.
The family say he was allowed to live alone after being released on bail, despite his serious mental health condition.
“He died because those who loved him were not allowed to get the answers they sought, to contribute their perspective of the situation,” the Foundation said.
It said the mental health sector is severely underfunded, even though “people are struggling the most they have been in decades”. No-one should lose their life to a mental health illness, it added.
“Nicholas we’re so sorry the system failed you, and failed your family.”
It said the charity would continue to fight for mental health services and hopes to remain in a position to prevent other senseless deaths; to support people when things seem bleak.
“The country needs to recognise how important mental health is and give it the attention it deserves,” it added.
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