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THE MENTAL HEALTH BURDEN IN SOUTH AFRICA

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Written by Fortune Ngubeni from Biocognitive Pty (Ltd)

Mental health burden in South Africa is increasing in an alarming rate while South Africa is a middle-income country a population of 47 million characterised by multiple societal-level socioeconomic risk factors for mental illness and disability. It ranks 13th highest in the world in terms of the proportion of the population living under the poverty line (50%) is second highest in terms of income inequality has the 19th highest unemployment rate (24%). It has the 4th highest rate of drug offences is within the top 30% , the greatest number of people living with HIV/AIDS pandemic in Sub-Saharan Africa with the 4th highest prevalence rate (18%).
This increases the burden of neuropsychiatric disorders and disability such a depression, anxiety, substance use disorder, suicide, psychosis, dementia.it is substantial evidence that poverty, Abuse, inequality, unemployment, drugs, violence are major environmental risk factors for mental illnesses therefore increasing the burden within the societies. Including depression, anxiety, psychosis and dementia. There’s substantial evidence that poverty, inequality, crime, unemployment, trauma, violence substance abuse are major environmental risk factors for mental illness in communities.

Due to progressive multiple barriers to financing and developmental of mental health care services a gap exist :

1. Psychiatric hospitals remaining outdated, overcrowded, inefficient to use.

2. Serious shortages of mental health professionals.

3. Inability to develop important tertiary level psychiatric services (such as child and adolescent services, neuropsychiatric services and

4. Community mental health and psychosocial rehabilitation services remaining undeveloped, so patients end up institutionalised, without hope of rehabilitation back into their communities.

This state of affairs remains unchanged for south Africans. Dr Motsoaledi Minister of health “There is a need for further transformation on mental health service, ensuring of equality, accessibility, equitable comprehensive care in all integrated care services and at all levels” (national policy framework 2013-2020)

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