Mental health awareness week

Did you know that around 150 deaths per year in Malta are attributable to mental and behavioural disorders? Did you know that Maltese people are less likely to report that they suffer from depression than the European average?

With the Mental Health Awareness Week JCI Malta hopes to change that narrative. From 2 to 7 October 2023, we will be hosting several initiatives related to mental wellbeing. From a yoga course to insightful talks and panel discussions, an art exhibition, and a comprehensive expo highlighting the available support systems for mental health in Malta.

Join us to contribute to the cause, challenge misconceptions, and work towards a more empathetic and informed society regarding mental health issues.

This project has been funded by the Small Initiatives Support Scheme (SIS) managed by the Malta Council for the Voluntary Sector (MCVS) supported by the Ministry for Inclusion, Voluntary Organisations and Consumer Rights (MIVC). This project/publication reflects the views only of the author, and the MCVS cannot be held responsible for the content or any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

MHA Expo


Rebalance & Reconnect
MHA Expo

Check out the schedule below:

MONDAY 2 OCTOBER - Mindful Walk (17.00 - 18.30)

Location: Buskett Woodlands

Join us for a transformative walk-event as part of the Mental Health Awareness Week that goes beyond the physical benefits of walking—it’s a journey to nurture your mental health. Let this walk offer you a unique opportunity to explore the profound impact of mindful walking on your overall well-being.

This event is free as part of the Mental Health Awareness Week. Please make sure you are registered so we know you are coming!

Why this walk matters for your mental health:

Daily life can be hectic and stressful, and this event is designed to provide respite for your mind. Discover how mindful walking can:

  1. Reduce Stress: Immerse yourself in the present moment, leaving worries behind as you focus on each step and breath.
  2. Enhance Clarity: Walking mindfully can sharpen your mental clarity, allowing you to think more clearly and make better decisions.
  3. Boost Mood: Experience the natural mood-lifting effects of exercise while also benefiting from the calming aspects of mindfulness.
  4. Improve Sleep: Regular mindful walking can contribute to better sleep patterns, leading to improved mental resilience.

Click here to register for this event.

FRIDAY 6 OCTOBER - Yoga: Rebalance and reconnect (18.00 - 19.00)

Location: Yoga Space, Yoga Space, Triq l-Isperanza, Mosta

A Yoga of embodiment class on regulating the nervous system through Yoga and Somatic Practices

Join Claire Mangion of Claire Yoga Malta for a yoga of embodiment class on regulating the nervous system through the powerful combination of yoga and somatic practices. This class is designed to help you explore various techniques to restore balance and calm to your mind and body. Through a series of yoga asanas, breathwork exercises, and somatic movements, you will release tension and stress held in the body and cultivate a sense of deep relaxation and inner peace. Whether you’re new to yoga and somatic practices or an experienced practitioner, this workshop offers a safe and supportive space for you to explore and deepen your practice. Come away feeling refreshed, renewed, and reconnected to your body, mind, and spirit.

Click here to register for this event.

Saturday 7 OCTOBER - Mental health awareness expo (10.00 - 18.00)

Location: The Notch Conference Center, Urban Valley Resort & Spa, San Gwann

Level 0:

Buckthorn 1
10.00 – 11.00 Returning to myself – Using Mindfulness as a daily support in our lives
Petra Spiteri
11.15 – 12.15 Panel Discussion: From likes to life: Navigating the impact of social media on mental health
Dr. Daniela Zammit, Dr. Stephanie Borg Bartolo, Dr. Marcia Gaffa, Marie Noelle Lanzon
13.00 – 14.00 Mental Health & Sport
Dr. Nigel Camilleri, Ms. Arianne Attard, Ms. Jasmine Borg
14.15 – 15.15 Drugs of abuse….. The why and why nots
Dr. Aloisia Camilleri
15.30 – 16.30 The Use of Art in Mental Health
Dr. Alexei Sammut
16.45 – 17.45 TBC

Level 1:

10.00 – 14.00 Expo
15.00 – 16.00 Q&A on therapy
Dr. Ronald Zammit (Willingness)
16.15 – 17.15 The enduring impact of childhood events: repercussions on our mind and body
Dr. Gabriel Ellul

Level 2:

The Boardroom
10.00 – 18.00
Quiet Room (Sensory Friendly)
Two 0 One
10.00 – 18.00
Art Exhibition Claire Farrugia
Two 0 Two
10.00 – 18.00

Entrance is free & no registration is needed for this event.
There is a 15 minute break between each talk/panel, with a lunch break from 12.15 – 13.00.
On the premises you can have lunch at the Thistle Lounge Bar by Urban Valley Resort & Spa, only a 3-minute walk from the conference center.

learn more about

the speakers

Petra Spiteri

Petra Spiteri is an accredited mindfulness trainer for adults and children, a certified Trauma-Sensitive Mindfulness Practitioner, and trained in Mindful SelfCompassion. She runs mindfulness courses to help clients to reduce anxiety, stress, reactivity, and worry and improve emotional awareness and resilience. Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy can significantly reduce relapse in people who have had previous episodes of major depression. Mindfulness-based interventions may reduce pain, fatigue, and stress in people with chronic pain. Petra is currently reading for a Masters degree in gestalt psychotherapy to add to her resources to support others.

Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy involves the use of interactive sessions. Training is done on understanding our emotions, learning to meditate, and also using our senses to slow down and bring more non-judgemental awareness to the present moment. Corporate motivational sessions are also provided for an idea of the role of mindfulness from an experiential and informative stance, to empower others to live with more emotional resilience. Corporate past clients include Malta Medicines Authority, William Hill, KafeRocks, Farsons, Agenzija Sapport and Evolve Ltd.

Petra can be contacted through her Facebook page.

Dr. Daniela Zammit

Dr. Daniela Zammit is a psychiatrist working with Mental Health Services in Malta. Her special interest lies in suicide prevention, involving herself in service development, research, and education. She is a licensed trainer with the Zero Suicide Institute of America, delivering courses entitled “Assessing and Managing Suicide Risk©” (AMSR©) to all mental health professionals and gatekeepers. Moreover, Dr Zammit is passionate about spreading awareness on suicide care, teaching students sitting for their Masters’ Degree in Mental Health on suicide risk assessments as well as offering supervision on research projects. Outside of her professional career, she enjoys trekking, physical exercise, and swimming as part of her selfcare.

Dr. Marcia Gafa'

Dr. Marcia Gafa

Marcia Gafa’ is a Senior Lecturer teaching nursing and health at the Institute of Applied Science, Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology (MCAST). After qualifying as a psychiatric nurse 2000, she continued to profess both professionally and academically and has received her PhD in Education with the focus on continuous professional development and lifelong learning following qualification. Marcia has been an active member within the psychiatric and mental health community as a board member on the Maltese Association for Psychiatric Nursing and has sat as a board member for Horatio: European Psychiatric Nursing association. Her current recent interests are in professional development, curriculum development, the application of mental health nursing within the wider context of health, mental health nursing with a particular focus on acute care and nursing theories.

Dr. Stephanie Borg Bartolo

Steffi is a warranted counselling psychologist in private practice and a senior Visiting Lecturer at University of Malta.  Her areas of interest and experience include personality disorders, trauma, grief and children using play techniques. She is currently furthering her studies in the field of perinatal and infant mental health. Steffi has a special interest in improving the relationship between parents and their children as well as coping with perinatal and antenatal loss. She is also an Parent Infant Interaction Observation Scale Accredited Practitioner.

Marie Noelle Lanzon

Marie Noelle recently graduated from the University of Malta with a Master of Psychology in Counselling Psychology. Marie Noelle has been working with Richmond Foundation for the past 8 years, and has served in many of Richmond’s services such as KIDs, Community Support Services and Villa Chelsea. Presently Marie Noelle serves as a rehabilitation manager at Villa Chelsea. Areas of interest include mental health, trauma, attachment and addiction disorders among others.

Dr. Nigel Camilleri

Dr Camileri is a fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists and on the executive committee of the Neurodevelopmental Psychiatry Special Interest Group (NDPSIG), currently working in Malta having previously been a clinical academic psychiatrist in Newcastle. He is a triathlete and is introducing sport psychiatry to Malta. He is an expert on ADHD and Autism and trains professionals on diagnosing autism.

Ms. Jasmine Borg

Jasmine graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology (Honours) from the University of Malta and went on to read for a Master’s in Sport, Exercise & Performance Psychology from the University of Limerick, and a Master’s in Health Psychology from the University of St Andrew’s in the UK. Her interest in health and sport stemmed from an early age, growing up immersed in an active lifestyle. She eventually became a qualified swimming instructor, conveying swimming skills and promoting sports to both children and adults of varying abilities, helping them believe in their own abilities to face and overcome challenges whilst boosting their own confidence, physical ability and mental strength.

Ms. Arianne Attard

Arianne graduated from the University of Malta with a Bachelor in Psychology (Honours) in 2011. She worked with children, adolescents, and adults with intellectual and neurodevelopmental disabilities. She went on to occupy the role of services manager where she facilitated in the setting up and running of services provided to adults with disabilities or mental health difficulties to find and maintain employment. In the meantime, Arianne also furthered her studies and obtained a Post Graduate Diploma in Systemic Family Therapy in 2015 and a Master of Arts in Disability Studies in 2017. In 2019 she pursued a Masters in Clinical Psychology at the University of Malta. As part of her studies, Arianne researched the therapeutic journey of individuals engaging in self-harm.
Arianne is presently employed as a psychology practitioner with the local mental health services with children and adolescents. She is also a part-time visiting lecturer at the University of Malta and has worked on several local research projects focusing on early intervention, employment and disability. She has also formed part of the Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Heath (ACAMH) Malta since 2018. On a personal level, Arianne likes to lead a very active lifestyle. She danced ballet for 23 years, spent several years volunteering as a cub scout leader and now enjoys running and gym. She is also involved with a local football club where she supports the running of a women’s football team.

Dr. Aloisia Camilleri

Dr Aloisia Camilleri is a consultant psychiatrist working in the local national health service. She has a special interest in addiction and acute intensive care psychiatry. Dr Camilleri is also a post graduate training co-ordinator in psychiatry and a visiting assistant lecturer at the University of Malta.

Dr. Ronald Zammit

Dr. Ronald Zammit is a warranted Clinical Psychologist and Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapist in Malta and the UK. Dr. Zammit undertook his psychotherapy and clinical psychology training in the UK, obtaining a Master of Science in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology. Dr. Zammit has over fifteen years’ experience working therapeutically across community and inpatient mental health settings in Malta and the UK. He also trained in Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) and worked in a comprehensive DBT programme for individuals with personality disorders and high-risk behaviours. Furthermore, Dr. Zammit has undertaken specialist training in Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy. Dr. Zammit’s special clinical interests include the assessment and treatment of depression, anxiety disorders, and traumatic stress disorders, including Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and complex trauma.

Dr. Alexei Sammut

Before joining the University of Malta’s Department of Mental Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, Dr Sammut had a career in the public sector as a Deputy Charge Nurse in the Mental Health services. He is registered both as a General nurse as well as a Mental Health Nurse. Dr Sammut has worked in a variety of mental health settings including Acute Psychiatry, Old Age Psychiatry and Learning Disabilities.

He read for his undergraduate degree with the University of Malta both in Nursing and in Mental Health. Dr Sammut read for his Doctorate of Philosophy, Ph.D., in Mental Health Nursing with the Faculty of Health, Social Care and Education, Kingston and St George’s University of London, under the supervision of Professor Mary Chambers.

Dr. Sammut has presented in several Local and International conferences and also acts as a reviewer for the Malta Journal of Health Sciences. He is the coordinator of the BSc. Mental Health Nursing Part Time course and is also actively involved in research and several project including the national mental health awareness campaign #STOPSTIGMA. He is the President of the Maltese Association of Psychiatric Nurses (MAPN). Apart from his regular teaching load Dr. Sammut also supervises students in the clinical setting and assists students in mental health research.

Dr. Gabriel Ellul
MD, MRCPsych, MA Bioethics, CCBST Psych
Medical Doctor and Psychiatric Higher Specialist Trainee 
Dr Gabriel Ellul graduated as a Medical Doctor at the University of Malta in 2015 and after obtaining his medical license in 2017, he started his specialist training in psychiatry.
He became a Member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists in the UK in 2019. He also read for a Masters Degree in Bioethics which he completed in 2020 and was awarded the Deans Award and the Dissertation Award for his work.
During his psychiatric training, he also trained at the prestigious Maudsley Hospital in London, where he practiced body-based psychotherapy and developed a special interest in trauma. His special interests include childhood trauma, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Complex PTSD, Borderline Personality Disorder and Dissociative Disorders, including Somatoform and Conversion Disorders.
His research interests include the impact of childhood trauma on personality development, personality disorders and neuroethics.
learn more about

the trainers

Claire Mangion

Claire Mangion

Yoga Teacher and Founder of Embodied Voyage

Claire is an E-RYT 500 Yoga teacher and has been teaching Yoga of Embodiment for the past 17 years, specializing in embodiment and somatic practices. She also holds certificates in somatic practices and sacred sexuality, bringing a unique perspective to her teachings that emphasizes the connection between the mind and body.

With a focus on self-awareness and inner peace, Claire believes that yoga of embodiment and somatic practices have the power to transform and heal. Her classes combine breathwork, meditation, and movement to guide students on a journey of self-discovery and self-love. Beyond her regular classes, Claire offers specialized workshops and classes that delve deeper into somatic practices, nervous system regulation and sacred sexuality. She is passionate about the power of embodiment to help individuals heal from past traumas, connect more deeply with their bodies, and cultivate a more fulfilling life.

Claire is also the founder of Embodied Voyage, an online sanctuary full of practices that are aimed to support you into manifesting a reality aligned with your truth.

learn more about

the artists

Claire Farrugia

Claire Farrugia

Claire Farrugia is an artist and a pharmacist. Through her work, she seeks to understand and explore our ever-evolving relationship with truth, reality, and lies.

Farrugia’s research revolves around the concept of liminality in the human experience, especially with regards to the dual nature of truths and lies and how these can transition into one another. In exploring these themes, Farrugia employs the human figure as the central subject and utilises painting, sculpture, and installations as her main mediums of expression.

Farrugia graduated from the University of Malta with a Master’s in Fine Arts from the Department of Art and Art History.

Learn more about

the participants of the expo

The Gasan Foundation
Be Positive Bipolar Self-Help Group
Be Positive Bipolar Self-Help Group
JCI Malta
Learn more about

our supporters