Jan 2024 edition

Gauteng increases access to mental health services

written by More Matshediso 
Mental healthThe Gauteng Department of Health is implementing several interventions to improve access and availability of mental health services in the province.

The Department’s Head of Communication Motalatale Modiba said the interventions aim to increase resources for mental health which include hiring more mental health specialised professionals and increasing the number of rehabilitation services.

“A number of Gauteng facilities have already been refurbished while others are undergoing refurbishment to ensure an addition of 206 acute mental health beds by the end of the 2023/24 financial year,” he explained.

The facilities include Bertha Gxowa, South Rand, Tshwane District, Tembisa, Edenvale, Dr George Mukhari and Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic hospitals. Currently, the province has 1 896 acute mental health beds.

Modiba said due to the current socio-economic challenges facing many citizens, there is a burden of mental health disorders, and part of this can be attributed to a rise in substance abuse as well.

To address this, the department is working with its 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, communities, and the youth.

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

“Discrimination, harmful stereotypes and stigma in communities, families, schools and workplaces prevent healthy relationships, social interactions and the inclusive environments that are needed for the well-being of all members of society. Stigma and discrimination continue to be a barrier to social inclusion and access to the right to care,” said Modiba.

To strengthen District Health Services, the department established District Specialist Mental Health Teams, Clinical Community Psychiatric Teams and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) Governance and Compliance Teams across districts in the province, all incorporated into the District Health System.

The three district-based mental health teams also work with hospitals, primary healthcare facilities or clinics, NGOs, non-health government sectors such as the [provincial] Department of Social Development and multiple community-based stakeholders, whose mandate is to provide preventive and interventional mental healthcare.

The department said some of the common mental illnesses include depression and anxiety disorders, and encouraged people who cannot afford private healthcare to visit their local clinics and seek help. If there is a need, the patient will be referred to a hospital by the clinic.

For more information, you can contact the Gauteng Provincial Government
Call Centre on 0800 22 88 27.
USSD number: *134*47472#

Email address:
support@gauteng.gov.za and

For more information about mental health, you can visit the South African Depression and Anxiety Group’s website www.SADAG.org.za

OR Call SADAG 24/7 on 080 045 6789 /
011 234 4837

Suicide Crisis Helpline
0800 567 567

Department of Social Development Substance Abuse Helpline
0800 12 13 14 SMS 32312

Cipla Mental Health Helpline
0800 456 789
SMS 31393

NPOwer SA Helpline

0800 515 515 SMS 43010

Healthcare Workers Care Network Helpline
0800 21 21 21
SMS 43001

UFS #Fair Kitchens Chefs Helpline
0800 006 333

Dr Reddy’s Mental Health Helpline
0800 21 22 23

Adcock Ingram Depression & Anxiety Helpline
0800 70 80 90

ADHD Helpline
0800 55 44 33

Pharma Dynamics Police & Trauma Helpline
0800 20 50 26

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