Mental health promotion and the prevention of mental disorders in South Africa

SOURCE: African Journal of Psychiatry
OUTPUT TYPE: Journal Article
TITLE AUTHOR(S): I.Petersen, A.Bhana, L.Swartz
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 7529
HANDLE: 20.500.11910/3159

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The need for greater attention to mental health promotion and the prevention of mental disorders in South Africa is highlighted by the cycle of poverty and mental ill-health, the potential for social gains, the question of affordability of treatment in the face of the increasing burden of mental disorders, and the limitations of existing treatment methods. This article, which provides a desk review of the current status of mental health promotion and prevention of mental disorders in South Africa, suggests that South Africa has a number of policies that bode well for promoting mental health from infancy through to old age. There is, however, a need for programmatic interventions to promote resilience in vulnerable populations. Of note, is the need for programmes to address maternal depression and strengthen attachment and psychosocial stimulation during infancy, strengthen families, promote health enhancing school environments, and address intimate partner violence and build health enhancing social capital. Given the multifaceted nature of risk and protective influences, the need for a multi-sectoral plan of action is highlighted.