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“When you realise that your child cannot socialise like any other child you feel heartbroken but over the years, together with the rest of my children, I managed to overcome that pain,” said Josephine Camilleri, a mother of six girls, one of whom struggled with mental health conditions at a very young age, Jane Camilleri.

Jane, who is now a 57-year-old woman, is residing at Casal Nuovo following her relocation from Mount Carmel Hospital, last year.

Accompanied by one of her other daughters, Josephine Camilleri explained how her relocation to Casal Nuovo has left tremendous change as the environment keeps her close to the community which helps her enhance her socialising skills.

“My daughter Jane has been suffering from mental health problems since she was a child. At the time the only option I was given was to send her to Mount Carmel Hospital. At first, I did not accept that option and we wanted to keep raising our daughter despite all the struggles. As she grew older it became harder and harder to care for her and in 1982, her medical doctor referred her to Mount Carmel Hospital”.

Josephine Camilleri mentioned how at Mount Carmel Hospital her daughter started to make gradual improvements which showed that she needed specific mental health care.

“Her sisters in a way felt guilty. The fact that they could not see her everyday it pained them. Since her presence was quite overwhelming many times, her lack of presence left a certain void in our hearts”, continued to explain Josephine Camilleri.

The fact that Jane is receiving constant, specialised care, keeps her mother’s mind at peace.

“She just loves watching television and adores listening to ABBA. Sometimes I wonder about the limitless patience that the carers have towards her – they have to listen to Jane’s favourite music all the time! They are truly admirable; they keep her happy and happiness is all we want for my daughter Jane”.

A mother’s heartache is that she might always question herself if she did all that is in her stride to provide for her children.

Josephine Camilleri concluded by saying “I wish I could have provided my daughter with better care and medicine but in the 60s, 70s and 80s there was no or little awareness about mental health. Thankfully nowadays the situation has improved a lot although society needs to be more compassionate towards any person who is struggling with mental health”.

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