Summit Helps Transform Mental Health in South Africa
The summit provided the department with an essential platform to engage stakeholders in mental health, evaluate the progress made towards transforming this area of work and identify the key challenges to be prioritised in reorganising and transforming the healthcare system.
Western Cape Minister of Health, Theuns Botha, said, "Mental health is more a reflection of the health of our families, communities and society as a whole in all aspects of life. So the vicious cycle between poverty and mental ill health has to be firmly acknowledged."
"The provincial mental health summit should consider the huge impact that the substance abuse epidemic in the Western Cape has had on mental healthcare services."
The objectives of the summit were to:
- Engage mental health stakeholders and mental healthcare users.
- Take stock of the progress that has been made in transforming the mental health system.
- Identify key challenges.
- Identify and prioritise key interventions that must be undertaken as part of the activities being undertaken to reorganise and overhaul the health system.
- Determine a framework for mental health services in the Western Cape Province.
Provincial mental health summits will be held in all provinces to capture the individual provincial views and findings in the run up to the National Summit. The National Mental Health Summit will be held from 29 - 30 March 2012 in the Gauteng Province.
According to Healthcare 2020, it is envisaged that the services offered at specialised hospitals need to be seen in the context of a strengthened health system, with the optimal use of the mainstream service and care pathways.
In terms of provincial budget allocated to mental health, an additional R60 million was allocated for the 2012/2013 book year. It was R 570 million for 2011/2012 and will now be R630 million.
The budget provides for a total of 1 698 beds in the following hospitals:
- Alexandra Hospital (300 beds) only for people with intellectual disabilities - current budget: R84 million.
- Lentegeur Hospital (740 beds) for general adult psychiatric services, child and adolescent services, intellectual disability services and forensic state patient services - current budget R198 million.
- Stikland Hospital (318 beds) for general acute adult psychiatric services with an alcohol rehab unit for people with mental illness and alcohol dependency and an opiate deto unit for complex detox - current budget R130 million.
- Valkenberg (340 beds) for general acute adult psychiatry and forensic services which include all observation services as well as state patient services - budget R144 million.
- Two step-down/step-up facilities, William Slater linked to Valkenberg and New Beginnings linked to Stikland (145 beds) - budget of about R 11 million.
Minister Botha added: "Our beds occupancy rate is 85%, which is a disturbing insight into the mental state of the province."