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