GHA psychiatrists, psychologists, General Practitioners, Accident and Emergency doctors and mental health workers took part in a four-day training course last month.

A Gibraltar Government spokesman said that the ‘specialised training’ is delivered by the UK Education and Training Network, which provides high quality medical and multidisciplinary training in the field of mental health care.

He said that the object of the new Mental Health Act is to make mental health care in Gibraltar more efficient and transparent, with a more pronounced emphasis on the rights of the individual patient.

“We want to reduce the stigma attached to mental health issues by raising awareness and working so that the public at large can obtain a better understanding of our work and the service we provide,” said the General Manager of Ocean Views Mental Health Facility, Chris Chipolina.

Minister for Health Neil Costa welcomed the training programme, noting that the government is keen to advance the quality of mental health care in the community.

“The training for those at the sharp end of the delivery of mental health care in Gibraltar is part of a well thought-out process for the introduction of the new Mental Health Act,” he said. “It will assist professionals in familiarising themselves with the provisions of the Act and ensure an upgrade in the skills of those who manage a vital area of the health service. The training is comprehensive and will allow participants to gain a detailed insight into the legal aspects of the Mental Health Act, its range of implications from detention to assessments and the role and responsibilities of clinicians and, naturally, the statutory rights of patients.”

The government spokesman said that the Act affords patients a greater say in their care and in what would happen to them in a crisis.

“Under the Act, the Government will appoint a Mental Health Board to act as a statutory watchdog tasked with challenging the service through an open doors policy to ensure continuous improvement,” the spokesman said.