Could the lack of adequate counselling and mental health services in South Africa’s health facilities leave sexual violence survivors more vulnerable to post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and suicide? A new national study gives us the answers.
South Africa is not at war, yet our rates of violence are similar to war zones. Virtually every child surveyed in Soweto has witnessed extreme violence, which means they have more in common with Palestinian children than our African neighbours – and our mental health is suffering.
MPUMALANGA – “I remember the last time my mother disappeared. People from a nearby community found her walking alone in the middle of the night naked. She couldn’t remember her own name and because she was naked people thought she was a witch. They wanted to burn her alive.”
Community-based mental health organisations are cash-strapped, and face ongoing threats from government that their subsidies will be cut. But the Esidimeni tragedy shows that more money should be invested in these facilities to protect patients from being discharged into hostile communities before they are ready.
Patients at the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital (CMJAH) psychiatric ward cannot bath or shower because the water leaks into other wards.