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.
Once widely hailed, South Africa’s Mental Health Policy Framework and Strategic Plan 2013 – 2020 lapsed last year, with mixed reviews on its implementation from mental healthcare stakeholders. The National Department of Health now says the revised and updated Policy Framework and Plan will be in place in the next financial year. Tiyese Jeranji spoke to experts and activists about what the lapsed policy framework achieved and what to improve.
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.
At Cape Town’s Tygerberg Hospital, a robot named Quintin played its part in the fight to save Nceba Simayile’s life as he lay intubated on a ventilator, struggling to breathe. Biénne Huisman reports.
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.