Urgent need for community based resources
By 2020, depression will be the second most disabling health condition in the world. Mental Disorders as a whole will account for 15% of the global burden of disease.
Yet mental health services lag far behind other services in every aspect: funding, infrastructure, human resources, and the provision of medical supplies and treatments.
The recent National Mental Health Policy framework and strategic plan shows that deinstitutionalisation has progressed rapidly in South Africa – without the necessary development of community based services, such as Community Based Residential Care, Day Services and Outpatient Services.
Insufficient dedicated beds in General Hospitals, insufficient Community Based Residential Care, and poor Information Systems to monitor the transition to community based care have resulted in revolving door patterns of care.
Before further downscaling of psychiatric hospitals can proceed, there is an urgent need for provincial Departments of Health to develop primary mental health services at community level – a key objective of the Mental Health Policy.
In July 2013, the SA Federation for Mental Health launched a three-year drive for the upscaling of Mental Health Services. This July we will be working alongside our partners in the Mental Health Sector and Government to raise awareness of this need.
Says Mrs Bharti Patel, National Director of the Federation: “SAFMH urges Government to realise the importance and urgency of the matter and to allocate the necessary resources to the areas where they are most needed. This is for the benefit of all South Africans, because whether we want to know it or not, Mental Illness affects us all.
Statistics show that one in four South Africans will experience a Mental Illness in their lifetime. SAFMH wants to reinforce this message to everyone - especially during the month of July, which is commemorated as Psychiatric Disability Awareness Month.”
We encourage you to learn more about Mental Health and Wellbeing and to advocate for non-discrimination and equal opportunities for people living with Mental Illness.
“We ask individuals to test the new Health policy and demand to learn about their Mental Health status. SAFMH challenges everyone to get their Mental Health and Wellbeing assessed. The sooner this happens, the sooner a person can access the help and support necessary to continue living a balanced, fulfilled life,” says Mrs Patel.
For more information please refer to our fact sheet - or contact us on 011 781 1852.
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