Passionate about community psychiatry, Professor Lesley Robertson spent the bulk of her career as a psychiatrist pushing for mental health reform in South Africa. Now, as head of the community psychiatry clinical unit at Sedibeng District Health Service, she is still pushing – among others to improve the essential medicines lists for psychiatric medicines and shore up community-based networks of churches, community groups, and assisted living homes as soft landings for people in need. Ufrieda Ho spoke to her as part of Spotlight’s Women in Health series.
The Life Esidimeni Inquest that started in July has been postponed until 15 November. This is the fifth postponement, meaning another agonising wait for family members of the deceased. The Inquest is crucial to determine who should be held criminally liable for the deaths of 144 mental healthcare users in 2016. Here one family member, Christine Nxumalo, shares in her own words some extracts from her journal on the Inquest proceedings, the long wait, and dealing with grief.
Working with Groote Schuur Hospital’s frontline COVID team, Psychiatry Professor Jackie Hoare help manage the mental health of patients admitted with severe COVID pneumonia and also the mental health needs of fellow healthcare workers. Bienne Huisman caught up with her to talk about providing counselling at the bedside of COVID patients and how we deal with the complexities of grief in a time of COVID-19.