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.
The COVID-19 epidemic in the Western Cape is at least a few weeks ahead of that in South Africa’s other provinces. Some leading doctors in the province have shared some key lessons learned in recent months.
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.
While the primary threat posed by COVID-19 is to people’s physical health, the pandemic is also taking its toll on economies, social and cultural activities, and people’s mental health. Spotlight spoke to mental health experts in the public, private and NGO sectors to hear how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting the mental health of people in South Africa.
People living with mental illness are among the most vulnerable people in society and face widespread stigma. In our response to COVID-19, we must be sensitive to the needs of this group of people, writes Julia Chaskalson.