Majority of patients receiving mental health care involuntarily are under 45

mental health

67% of people receiving treatment in a mental health institute against their will involve persons aged less than 45 years.

This information was published in this year’s Annual Report by the Commissioner for Mental Health (CMH).

With the entry into force of the relevant sections of the Mental Health Act on 10th October 2014, the Commission of Mental Health has been actively monitoring the process through which persons suffering from mental disorders have their rights restricted.  

67% of admissions involved persons aged less than 45 years, “confirming the high burden of mental disorder in younger segments of society,” the report stated. 17 patients were aged between 12 and 17. Men aged between 18 and 29 were the largest cluster of people who were involuntarily admitted for observation in a mental health institute, if admission data is analysed by the total population.

The gender ratio was 281 males (64.4%) to 155 (35.6%) females.

1,857 patients since 2014

Since 2014, a total of 1,857 persons have had at least one restriction of rights and these persons have been registered in the involuntary care system held at the Office of the CMH. As on 31st December 2019, there was an average of 114 persons per day receiving compulsory care in the community.

The majority fall under schedule 2, meaning involuntary admission for observation. 60% of these were hospital stays that lasted 10 days or less, while 7 cases were under observation for over 17 weeks. In 2019, no patients who were forced to undergo invasive or irreversible treatment.

Geographic analysis

For Maltese residents, the Northern Harbour hosted the largest cluster of people requiring this care with 88/324 residing in those localities. This was followed by the Southern Harbour, which hosted 63/324 patients.

However, when this is put in perspective of the rates per residents in the area, 0.817% of Southern Harbour residents were involuntarily admitted to an institute, whereas the same statistic only holds for 0.739% of Northern Harbour residents. 

Only 15 out of 324 patients were Gozitan residents.


25.7% of all acute involuntary admissions were foreigners – 9.6% were EU citizens, 13.3% were persons from medium and less developed countries and 2.8% were persons from highly developed countries. 

Almost 44% of these foreigners had a Maltese ID Card; the rest were either temporary visitors or asylum seekers.