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Mental health is like physical health, everyone has it and therefore it needs to be taken care of. That is what Mary Pace has been doing, for many years, towards her nephew, Noel Abela.

Noel, who is now 29 years old, resides at Casal Nuovo, one of the services run by HILA, Home to Independence and Limitless Abilities. At Casal Nuovo Noel receives specialised care and is empowered to develop his abilities to reach his full potential.

Mary Pace explains how her nephew had a serene childhood. “He was an excellent student, was very social, everything was fine until puberty started to hit. We used to struggle with him to understand his irrational behaviour and reactions at times. We simply could not understand why a young person could act or rather react in certain ways to situations, which frankly, were normal for an adolescent”.

Noel spent most of his childhood with his aunt and his grandma and they used to attend to him as if he was their child.

“We consulted doctors and health consultants, however, despite the prescribed medicine, we could not control his behaviour and for us, he was physically too strong. Noel’s family experienced many struggles over the years and that is why my brother asked for my help and that of our mother to help raise Noel”.

In her explanation about the struggles in helping raise Noel, Mary Pace mentioned the pain she felt and still feels, up to a certain extent, that back then there was not enough awareness about mental health that ultimately affected the care and treatment that her nephew received.

Due to the constant care he needed, Noel was admitted to Mount Carmel Hospital at the age of 16. Mary explains how during his time at the hospital, care was not tailormade for his specific situation but now that he has been residing at Casal Nuovo, it made all the difference.

“At Casal Nuovo he is extremely happy. His attitude changed because the environment they live in makes a huge impact on their state of mind. He feels at peace. It is his home now”, stated Noel’s aunt, Mary Pace.

At Casal Nuovo, the residents have access to all the necessary facilities, as well as nurses, therapists, specialists, consultants, and other health professionals related to mental health.

The home was inaugurated in June last year and patients who had been residing at Mount Carmel Hospital for many years were relocated to Casal Nuovo. Today a total of 50 patients reside at the home which is part of the government’s strategy to relocate mental health patients away from Mount Carmel.

For more information about HILA, click on the following website link: www.https://hila.com.mt/

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