Jul 2012

The right to be treated with respect

Although a number of mental disorders are preventable and treatable, particularly in children and adolescents, the burden of mental disorders is growing globally. According to the South African Stress and Health Survey, 16,5 per cent of the adult population has experienced a mental health disorder in the last 12 months.
Mental health problems contribute significantly to the burden of disease and the loss of quality of life, and have a huge economic and social cost. Mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety, substance abuse and stress, are common and not only affect individuals, but also their families, co-workers and the broader community.
Mental disorders are also associated with a range of priority health issues, including non-communicable diseases, HIV and AIDS, violence and injuries.
Many mental disorders are linked to medical and social factors such as poverty and substance abuse. The risk of mental disorders increases among the poor, homeless and unemployed; persons with low levels of education; victims of violence and crime; migrants and refugees; indigenous populations; children, adolescents and abused women and the neglected elderly.
Mental healthcare users have a right to be treated with respect and dignity. We can all help those close to us who suffer from mental disorders by remembering that mental illness can be treated or the symptoms alleviated at your doctor, clinic or hospital.

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