South Africa Marks World Mental Health Awareness Day

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South Africa has joined the global community in commemorating World Mental Health Day to raise awareness of mental health issues.

This information was contained in a Press statement released from the office of the South African Government.

The statement reads in part, “Stigma and discrimination are some of the leading contributing factors that exacerbate the situation and delay or stop mental health patients from getting help, hence the department appeals to family and community members to play a key role in providing significant support and care to persons suffering from mental illness or psychological distress.

“In South Africa, the most common mental health disorders include anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress and substance use disorders.

“The 2022 World Mental Health Day campaign was commemorated under the theme: “Make mental health and well-being for all a global priority” which serves as a clarion call for governments, donor funders and all stakeholders worldwide to prioritise mental health.

“Among others, international development assistance for mental health is estimated to be less than 1% of all development assistance for health and this can be improved.

“This is in line with the lower end of international benchmarks of the recommended amount that countries should spend on mental health.

“The latest available data indicate that on average, most countries spend about 2.13% of their total health budgets on mental health, which does not correspond with the scale of the problem and the burden of mental ill-health.”

As part of the efforts to decentralise mental health services that historically were provided only in specialised psychiatric hospitals, the department has been integrating mental health into the general health services environment in line with the Mental Health Care Act, of 2002 to ensure that people access mental health services nearer to where they stay or work.

So far, the Department noted that over 40 mental health or psychiatric units have been attached to general hospitals across the country.

“These units provide comprehensive mental health care, treatment, and rehabilitation on an inpatient and outpatient basis and refer to specialized psychiatric hospitals only those who need more specialized and complex interventions.”

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