Child and adolescent mental health services in crisis, report finds

The latest edition of the South African Child Gauge focuses on child and adolescent mental health and highlights the importance of early interventions for good mental health outcomes. Tiyese Jeranji looked at the report’s findings and recommendations and asked the health department how it will tackle issues highlighted about child and adolescent mental health in the country.

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Intimate partner violence in SA – is it getting worse and how do we tackle it?

A third or even up to half of women and girls in South Africa aged 15 and older have either experienced physical or sexual intimate partner violence (IPV). Some experts say South Africa almost has a perfect storm of IPV drivers. Elsabé Brits unpacks some of the recent findings published in a landmark Lancet Psychiatry Commission on interpersonal violence and asks experts how we can address this in South Africa.

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Opinion: COVID-19 has been hard on kids, more support is needed

A rise in teenage pregnancies and gender-based violence coupled with the loss and uncertainty related to COVID-19 are all stressors fuelling the mental health burden the pandemic will leave on children, especially girls. If not adequately addressed, argues Kholofelo Mphahlele, the mental health consequences for a generation of children and young people could far surpass the immediate health and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving harmful long-term social and economic consequences in its wake.

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Stix Morewa Hospital’s mental healthcare users stay put… for now.

In February, Stix Morewa Hospital in Selby, Johannesburg sent out a letter to the families of the over 400 mental healthcare users in their care. In this letter, families were reportedly informed that the Gauteng Department of Health will terminate its contract with the hospital by the end of March, which would have meant that the mental health users would have had to be transferred elsewhere. Thabo Molelekwa looks at the developments since then.

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Programme delivers comprehensive HIV prevention and SRH services to learners

Even though the rate of new HIV infections in young women and adolescent girls remains stubbornly high, provision and uptake of pills that can prevent HIV infection have generally been slow and lagging. One potential solution presented at the recent Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections is to provide the pills at schools. Tiyese Jeranji reports.

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In-depth: Is government ready to invest in mental health?

Mental health does not have its own ring-fenced budget and given huge inefficiencies in our mental health spending, we need to be strategic on where and how we spend the little we have. Alicestine October unpacks what a new government-commissioned mental health investment case framework can mean for access to equitable and quality mental health services in the country. 

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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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Two years later, Kimberley Mental Health Hospital still not at capacity

This month it is two years since Northern Cape Premier Dr Zamani Saul opened the multimillion-rand Kimberley Mental Health Hospital, calling it a ‘monument of corruption’. By then, Saul said the hospital, which has a capacity of 287 beds, already had 160 patients and will be operationalised in phases. Yet, union Nehawu, community healthcare workers, activists, and some mental health practitioners insist mental health users in the public sector are still disadvantaged because the hospital is still not running at capacity. Refilwe Mochoari reports.

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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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