Lisbon: 8 May, 2018
There were emotional scenes in Lisbon today at an event involving Malta’s entrant in the Eurovision Song Contest, Christabelle.
The Ministry of Health in Portugal teamed up with a leading University research centre and the singer to send a message of hope about mental health.
When a member of the audience tried to put a question to Christabelle, she broke down in tears and Christabelle left the panel to give the young woman a hug.
Christabelle, Malta’s entrant in the contest, has had to deal with mental health issues herself and her song, “Taboo”, sends a message to everyone who is struggling about the need to seek professional help.
Christabelle, and Dr. Paula Domingos on behalf of Professor Miguel Xavier, Director of the National Programme for Mental Health from the Ministry of Health, appeared at today’s event organised by the Lisbon Institute of Global Mental Health. The institute forms part of the Nova Medical School, Universidade Nova de Lisboa. Professor José Miguel Caldas de Almeida, Director of the Institute and Coordinator of the EU Joint Action on Mental Health and Wellbeing, also addressed the meeting.
The Maltese singer gave an acoustic rendition of her song and spoke of the need to break down the taboos surrounding the issue.
The meeting also heard, in video messages, from the Deputy Prime Minister and Health Minister of Malta, Dr Chris Fearne, and the President of Malta, Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca. They wished the singer well in the contest and praised her activism.
Professor Caldas de Almeida told the meeting that many people with mental health problems face abuse and discrimination and spoke of the stigma that made people hesitate to seek help. He said about 22% of the population of Portugal suffered a mental health condition. He thanked Christabelle for giving this issue a voice at Eurovision.
Dr Domingos told Christabelle she was very brave to tell her story, and demonstrated that she wasn’t afraid to be judged.
Christabelle will perform in the second semi-final of Eurovision at the Altice Arena in Lisbon on Thursday 10th May and, if she qualifies, in the final on Saturday 12th May.