Together Gibraltar Says Mental Health Select Committee Should Be Presented Following Process Of Dialogue And Consensus

Together Gibraltar have responded to the GSD's proposal to create a select committee on mental health highlighting the need for it to have been discussed with political parties prior to the press.

A statement from Together Gibraltar follows below:

In response to Mr. Azopardi’s proposal to create a select committee on mental health, delivered – in extremely unorthodox fashion – to the press and to the different parties simultaneously, Together Gibraltar would like to make the following comments: 

Parties should have been consulted before the press. 

Otherwise potentially constructive proposals like the above end up having the appearance of devious political maneuvering, thus detracting from the possibility of their success. 

Committees without proper remits and guidelines are empty vessels. 

Cross party initiatives -which Together Gibraltar has always supported – without real political consensus on the issues can often be a waste of time. Before any committee is created, all three parties should meet and discuss whether this consensus is possible and how it will be implemented. 

Almost all areas of public policy are susceptible of impacting on mental health. 

Out of the all the possible areas of collaboration, mental health is perhaps the most overarching and complex. We can agree on improving our response to the problem, but on how to tackle the root we will probably be at loggerheads over the most essential elements of our respective ideologies. For example, the GSD supports depriving women of their reproductive rights going against human rights and against widespread political, social and scientific consensus. We believe this has an extremely negative effect on the mental health of our community. The GSLP believe that an economic model based on exacerbated construction is good for the community, while we believe this model has a negative effect on our mental health. Is it possible to overcome these fundamental political differences? 

From a health perspective, this should be left to medical professionals. 

If we cannot agree on the politics (the root of the problem and the issues that generate it), then all this select committee will be doing is discussing funding and how to best respond to a problem that already exists. In terms of funding, we are more than happy to support an increase in funding to tackle this extremely worrying problem. However, on the more scientific issues, would it not be better to create a panel of expert doctors? Should politicians intrude in what is essentially the job of properly trained medical professionals? 

At Together Gibraltar we are the first to advocate for cross party collaboration and we share the GSD’s concern for the mental health of our community, but all of these issues should be discussed calmly and at length in private before launching public proposals. We hereby express our willingness to engage in discussions with all parties, under any format, to create the basis for collaboration on this front.