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Partnering with civil society to engage journalists at Mental…

Photo Credit: Charl Linde

The take-home message presented to delegates by CPMH Director, Prof Crick Lund, at the recent Mental Health Summit hosted by the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) in partnership with Discovery Health was that it makes economic sense for governments to invest in mental health care. Highlighting the burden of disease in South Africa, neuropsychiatric disorders are ranked 3rd after HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases; there are also strong links between mental health problems and poverty.

Themed ‘Making Mental Health Matter’ the summit was aimed at the media to inform, update and help journalists to report on mental health issues. Prof Lund also emphasised the importance of journalists accurately reporting mental health research, citing a recent example of a newspaper headline exaggerating the number of South Africans living with mental illness.

The international guest speaker was Stefan Hofmann, from Boston University; he was joined other professionals in the field, as well as mental health service users who spoke of their personal experiences in seeking treatments and how they overcame their personal challenges. General topics of discussion included mental health issues, such as depression, social phobia, substance abuse, trauma and suicide and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).

Mental illness and the stigma surrounding it, is a critical issue in South Africa, with one in three people suffering from a mental illness in their lifetime. According to the World Health Organisation, by 2020 mental illness will be the main burden of disease worldwide.

Click here to view the Full Presentation.

Policy News

CPMH addresses Parliamentary researchers on mental health policy

Photo Credit: Tebatso Mabilisa, Parliament of South Africa

CPMH Director, Prof Crick Lund, was recently invited to address researchers from the Parliament of South Africa.

He spoke on the South African Mental Health Policy Framework and its implementation, highlighting the development of mental health care in the country, from the colonial and apartheid eras where institutionalisation and custodial care were the norm, to modern-day treatment that focus largely on primary-level care within the community.

IMG_0110IMG_0118The address culminated in a discussion around recent policy developments stemming largely from the 2011 National Health Council (NHC) resolution that mental health services should be reviewed. This resolution was the precursor for the important national summit in 2012 themed “Scaling up investment in mental health for a long and healthy life for all South Africans”.

Finally, he touched on the outcomes of this summit, highlighting the eight catalytic objectives that are being used to finalise the “Mental Health Policy Framework 2013-2020”, as well as its implementation and monitoring.

Click here to view the Full Presentation.