The Democratic Alliance (DA) has revealed that almost 50% of South African hospitals that offer mental health services don’t have a psychiatrist available, while over 30% of them do not have a single clinical psychologist.
Almost 90% of mental health facilities don’t have a registered councillor to efficiently deal with any backlogs that health facilities may encounter.
The South African reports that the DA says these “shocking statistics”, revealed from parliamentary questions, show that South Africa has a floating mental health crisis.
“The country’s facilities are entirely devoid of any mental healthcare specialists and ill-equipped to deal with the demand for mental health services. This leaves millions vulnerable, without the professional assistance and likely to fall prey to unregistered facilities where a Life Esidimeni outcome is likely,” Siviwe Gwarube, the DA shadow minister of health is quoted in the report as saying.
Mpumalanga does not have a single psychiatric hospital in the entire province. In addition to this, in Mpumalanga, Northern Cape and Limpopo there are no licensed NGOs to province mental health services to the public. Instead, Mpumalanga, North West and the Northern Cape all have 3 specialists in the entire province to deal with the demand of mental health services.
South Africa has a mental health crisis due to chronic under-investment in the system for decades. Between 2014 and 2019 we have only added about 277 psychiatric beds in our facilities across the country. This is indicative of a government that it out of step with the growing needs of the population and political leadership that will not be held accountable for poor health outcomes.
The party has requested that the Health Department develop a mental health strategy to readdress these issues; and further state this as an example of their disapproval for the National Health Insurance Bill, as it won’t deal with systemic backlogs.The South African report