Analysis: Eastern Cape needs mental health services, gets mostly empty promises

Analysis: Eastern Cape needs mental health services, gets mostly empty promises

In recent years there have been various reports with damning findings on the state of mental healthcare services in the Eastern Cape. Luvuyo Mehlwana and Alicestine October assess what has and what hasn’t changed after recommendations from the Public Protector, the Health Ombud, the PSC, and the HSRC, and almost as many undertakings in response by the Eastern Cape Department of Health.

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In-depth: How are depression and bipolar disorder treated in the public sector?

In-depth: How are depression and bipolar disorder treated in the public sector?

It is estimated that “one in ten adults living in South Africa will have experienced major clinical depression at some point in their life but only 25% have sought treatment and care for their mental conditions, such as depression”. Although these estimates are based on the South African Stress and Health (SASH) study, last done in 2009, subsequent studies have stressed the significant challenge of reducing this treatment gap in the country. Elri Voigt asks how conditions like major depression and bipolar disorder are diagnosed and treated in the public sector in South Africa.

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What public sector mental health services look like in the Free State

What public sector mental health services look like in the Free State

A 36-year-old mother living with HIV from Thabong in Welkom in the Free State is among the many millions of people in South Africa who rely on public healthcare services. Also, like many others, the COVID-19 pandemic and its associated disruptions have left her in a constant struggle with anxiety. Refilwe Mochoari asks what mental health services are available to people in the Free State who depend on the public healthcare system.

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EDITORIAL: Spotlight on mental health

EDITORIAL: Spotlight on mental health

In the spirit of mental health awareness month this October, Spotlight will publish a mental health special series in the coming weeks. This is what you can expect.

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In-depth: Mental health needs of children falling through the cracks, experts say

In-depth: Mental health needs of children falling through the cracks, experts say

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.

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Six years after Life Esidimeni: Deinstitutionalisation at risk as NGOs are paid late

Six years after Life Esidimeni: Deinstitutionalisation at risk as NGOs are paid late

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.

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COVID-19: “Extremely high levels of stress” among employees in SA

COVID-19: “Extremely high levels of stress” among employees in SA

Employees in South Africa are experiencing extremely high rates of psychological distress during the COVID-19 epidemic, researchers report.

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COVID-19: How life has changed for providers of mental health services

COVID-19: How life has changed for providers of mental health services

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced mental health practitioners to rethink and adapt how they provide mental health services amidst daily reports of COVID-19 infections and deaths and under the constraints of the national lockdown. Melissa Javan asked mental health practitioners about how their lives have changed.

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