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This is an opinion piece, by HILA Homes CEO, Ms. Janet Silvio, published in the Malta Business Weekly on the Friday 13th May 2022

Throughout our individual journey in life we all experience challenging moments – moments where we feel inadequate, sad and unable to fit in and we struggle to understand the purpose of our path.

Loss, trauma, bullying and pain of any kind and sort hits everyone at different stages of life and effects individuals in different manners.  There are those who reach out for help, those who don’t and those who reach out but whose cries remain unheard.

Everything which occurs in our lives creates an indelible memory which will form the persons we are and, inevitably, shapes our destiny.

Before I started working in the social field, I too had my share of pain which led me to experience a dark period in my life.  I felt vulnerable and lonely, believing that I was broken and did not belong anywhere.  As a consequence, this strongly impacted my mental health well-being and it was through the decision of reaching out for help and those who truly loved me, that I was able to get back on my feet and start afresh.

Years after, when I was able to self-reflect about this particular period of my life, I realized how judgement, loneliness and lack of connection can impact a person’s mental health wellbeing and their quality of life, even to an extreme.

For me changing my career path and starting to work in the social sector was a game changer.  Managing a home for the elderly was already a great experience but HILA was what gave me true purpose.

Last year we made a very important step to start offering a new service – a community home for persons with a mental health condition.  Our clients had been previously residing in Malta’s mental health hospitals, some of them for long years, and being part of their de-institutionalization was something of great importance not only to HILA but to all our Group.

Our clients all have their own story – some were born with a mental health condition, many developed it through events that happened in their journey.  Discovering and learning about their journeys, little by little, made me understand even more how important the power of connection is for all of us.

Connecting with someone helps you to understand their needs, emphatize with what they have gone through and realise what steps you need to take to support them.  The degree of help which we can give to each other varies, and not everything is effective, but by first seeing the person and not their condition and diagnose, building connections with them and giving them a sense of belonging we have seen our clients flourish.

I believe we have still a long way to go in order to remove barriers which have been built in the past by society and to abolish the stigma there is about mental health.  Whether it’s a temporary condition or a life-time diagnose we need to understand that these don’t define a person.  We are all subject to vulnerability, some more than others, and we can only heal through acceptance.

Witnessing ever day the results we get with our clients, whether big or small, is a constant inspiration for me to keep working to build more services for a more inclusive society.

Being part of our teams and of this journey is something which can be reachable to everyone.

Through courses offered at Learning Works, a subsidiary company of Vassallo Group, CareMalta’s and HILA’s employees can further enhance and develop skills necessary to achieve intellectual and personal growth. Starting this June, Learning Works is once again offering its EQF/MQF Level 4 Award in Mental Health Support and Care course, aimed mostly at individuals currently working as care assistants in a residential or hospital setting and social care assistants.

Applicants must have a level 3 certificate in Health Care. An Ordinary level standard of education  (MQF Level 3) followed by excellent English communication skills or a minimum of 3 years of experience in the health care sector will also be taken into consideration.

Want to find out more about your new journey? Contact Learning Works on 79660054 or email on:

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