Addiction to substances is linked to mental health issues.

Written by on October 30, 2023

Written By: Tasha Siziba


October marks World Mental Health Month, and the Gauteng Department of Health (GDoH) is working to boost resources for mental health services. The intervention aims to enhance access and availability of mental health services in the province, following concerns raised by the South African
Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) on the current state of the country’s psychiatric facilities.

According to SADAG, the lack of public mental health facilities in the province have caused hospitals to overcrowd their psychiatric units. A person’s thoughts, perceptions, mood, or conduct can all be affected by mental disease symptoms, such as depression, anxiety disorders, and schizophrenia.

Speaking on behalf of the Gauteng Department of Health, Motalatale Modiba states that 206 acute mental beds are to be delivered across Gauteng hospitals by the end of the 2023/24 financial year.

These hospitals include Bertha Gxowa, South Rand, Tshwane District, Tembisa, Edenvale, Dr George Mukhari and Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospitals.

He say’s currently the province has 1 896 acute mental health beds. The department held a two-day Mental Health Seminar in Boksburg on October 26 and 27, focusing on the theme “Mental Health is a Universal Human Right” Modiba emphasized the seminar’s goal to improve access to mental health services in the province by integrating care at all levels and utilizing necessary human resources.

“The GDoH is working with other stakeholders to apply universal preventive measures that reduce the risk of mental ill-health. This includes the promotion of social inclusion policies, support and direct investment for vulnerable groups and investment in communities and young people to reduce crime.”

He further said, the socio-economic status of people and a rise in substance abuse attributed to their mental health issues. “Stigma and discrimination continue to be a barrier to social inclusion and access to the right to care.

There is also a need to support well-being interventions across the life course from pregnancy, birth, early childhood, early teens, adulthood to older adulthood and to improve the social determinants of health and address mental health stigma and discrimination.”

Moreover, The Gauteng College of Nursing is advocating for accreditation to address the shortage of mental health care practitioners and specialist nurses due to limited graduate output.

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