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Mental Health in SA

Through public education and outreach to not only individuals living with a mental condition, but also primary care providers, the "Let's Talk" film seeks to increase the number of South Africans who receive treatment and improve the manner in which mental illnesses are detected and treated in primary care settings.

Currently an alarming 75% of mentally ill people in South Africa go undiagnosed, supported or cared for.

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According to the World Health Organisation's most recent Stress and Health study, South Africa ranks as having the 6th highest prevalence for anxiety disorders compared to the rest of the world.

High stress and anxiety levels can be ascribed to multiple societal and socio-economic risk factors which are all major contributing environmental factors for mental illness – among these include widespread poverty, inequality, urbanisation, unemployment, trauma and violence, and substance abuse. 

Research from the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) shows that one in five South Africans do or will suffer from a mental condition at some point in their life. That one person could be your sibling, friend, partner or your co-worker.

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Multiple barriers to the financing and development of mental health services still exist in South Africa. This can result in psychiatric hospitals remaining outdated and often falling into disrepair; shortages of mental health professionals; an inability to develop vitally important tertiary level psychiatric services and community mental health rehabilitation services which remain undeveloped.

Consequently many patients end up institutionalised, without hope of rehabilitation.

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