The founder and chairperson of mental health organisation Richmond Foundation is resigning as Chair after almost three decades.
Anthony Guillaumier founded Richmond Foundation in May 1993 to address the gap in mental health support services in Malta at that time. Today, the Foundation is Malta’s leading NGO in the provision of community services for people with mental health problems and their loved ones.
“Mr Guillaumier has been a key individual throughout Richmond’s existence and his resignation as Chair will mark the end of an era,” says Richmond Foundation CEO Stephania Dimech Sant. “He will leave a pair of big shoes to fill and we will definitely miss the feeling of robust security that he conveyed through the trust he imparted to all of us at Richmond. On the other hand, he has imbued us with a sense of vision, the drive to rise to face a challenge and put all our energy into making dreams come true, particularly when it means making a positive contribution to society.”
Inspired by a visit to the Richmond Fellowship in UK – from which the Foundation draws its name – Mr Guillaumier hoped to find more information on how to support employees struggling with mental health issues and a close relative who was battling depression. With characteristic determination, however, he sought the help of Malta’s Ministry of Health to launch the Richmond Foundation – and the rest is history.
Richmond Foundation is a member of the Global Alliance of Mental Illness Advocacy Networks –Europe (GAMIAN-Europe), the European Anti-Poverty Network, the Malta Federations of NGOs and the Malta Health Network, and was one of the first organisations to voluntarily become ISO certified. Through its formidable team of over 120 highly trained and motivated professional staff alongside scores of volunteers, the Foundation provides a high standard of quality care to users on an ongoing basis.
Mr Guillaumier’s near-three-decade tenure as Chair includes many milestone achievements, particularly in the perception of mental health and the range of support services related to it in Malta. “Richmond Foundation served as a catalyst to bring about a shift in the way people perceive mental health in Malta. In fact, today we do not speak of mental illness, we speak about mental health – that is already something completely different,” he says.
“I step down now as Chair to both focus my energy on a family medical issue and to pass the baton to young blood, who will bring fresh ideas and energy to the organisation. I’m sad to go, but I also have a sense of pride that Richmond has been the driver of huge social change, which has impacted the lives of individuals, institutions, governments and even private enterprise. I feel we have made a difference to so many affected by mental illness and we have established a centre that is tirelessly working on dedication, training and promotion of good mental health practice. This will be my legacy,” Mr Guillaumier concludes.
More information about the Richmond Foundation is available at www.richmond.org.mt.