Globally it is estimated that around one in five to one in ten children and adolescents are affected by mental health disorders. In South Africa, the numbers are highly uncertain, particularly at provincial level, where hardly any data is being gathered. Research suggests that a lack of intersectoral collaboration has resulted in children falling through the cracks – so much so that one expert now says South Africa is completely unable to meet the mental health needs of its children. Tiyese Jeranji investigates.
Although individual families of the mental healthcare users who died after they were discharged from Life Esidimeni in 2016 have been compensated for the violation of their constitutional rights, the actors responsible for the deaths, suffering, and torture of the mental healthcare patients have yet to be held criminally accountable. But that could change after a formal Judicial Inquest into the deaths, starting at the Pretoria High Court on 19 July 2021.
Six years after the Life Esidimeni tragedy, an inquest into the circumstances under which more than a thousand psychiatric patients were moved into the care of NGOs and about 144 died, is set to start in the North Gauteng High Court in July. Meanwhile, some mental health NGOs and activists maintain that the Gauteng Department of Health is still short-changing mental health services. Thabo Molelekwa reports.
Over 30% of those living in South Africa have experienced a depressive, anxiety, or substance use disorder in their lifetime, according to a national survey. Yet studies show only 15% of those with mental health conditions receive treatment. Laura Owings explores what role community healthcare workers can play in addressing this lack of access to care.
Almost half of the most commonly used medications to treat mental illness in South Africa were out of stock in August, and many have been in short supply since March. Now, experts warn that amid the COVID-19 outbreak, the nation could see a “shadow epidemic” of psychiatric illness. Laura Lopez Gonzalez investigates.