Mental Health Primary Healthcare (PHC) Services | Western Cape Government

Mental Health Primary Healthcare (PHC) Services


The Primary Healthcare (PHC) service detects, diagnoses and treats common mental health conditions, and organises the referral of more complicated mental health problems to more appropriate levels of mental health care.

Diagnosis and Treatment

If you are suffering from a mental health condition, you can go to your local clinic where a health worker will assess you and offer initial treatment.

In the Metro, Southern Cape Karoo and West Coast Winelands regions, the health worker may refer you onto more specialised care offered by a mental health (psychiatric) nurse, where available. An appointment would need to be made to see the mental health nurse at the clinic as the nurse visits several clinics in a week. The mental health nurse may further assess your mental health condition to enable them to provide the most effective treatment. Treatment may include medication as well as short-term individual or group counselling and support. The mental health nurse may consult with the regional psychologist or psychiatrist (or other members of the regional mental health team) when additional expertise is required. If necessary, the mental health nurse may set up an appointment with one of these specialists for further assessment at the PHC clinic. In the Boland/Overberg region, mental health care is offered at PHC clinics with support to the nurses available from the mental health nurse or the sessional psychiatrist.

Support Groups

Additional support besides clinic visits may be necessary to promote and maintain good mental health, and clients may be advised to attend psychosocial rehabilitation support groups where necessary and available. Consult the mental health directory or ask your local clinic or mental health nurse about groups in your area. Some groups are run by Department of Health workers while others, particularly in the metro region, are run by NGOs partially subsidised by the department.

Group Homes

The Department of Health also gives partial subsidies to NGOs in some regions who offer group homes for adults with mental illness and day care centres for children under 18 years of age with profound and severe intellectual disability. Enquiries about vacancies at these NGO-run facilities would need to be directed to the NGO concerned (See mental health directory).

Useful Contacts

The following helplines can also be of assistance:

  • Anxiety and Depression Hotline: 011 783 1474
  • Drug Abuse/Naranon: 088 130 0327
  • Aidsline: 0800 012 322
  • Child Line: 0800 055 555
  • Life Line: 021 461 1111/4
  • Alcoholics Anonymous: 021 418 0908
  • Narcotics Anonymous: 021 797 1400
  • HEAL (Halt Elder Abuse Line): 0800 003 081

These organisations can also be of assistance:

SA Federation for Mental Health
Private Bag X46
Tel: 011 781 1852

Cape Mental Health Society
Ivy Street
Tel: 021 447 9040

Western Cape Forum for Mental Handicap
Tel: 021 510 4686

Mental Health Information Centre
Department of Psychiatry
University of Stellenbosch
PO Box 19063
Tel: 021 938 9227 or 021 938 9116
Toll free: 0800 600 411

The Child Care Information Centre (CCIC)

Maternal and Child Health Information and Resource Centre (MCHIRC)

The Child Health Unit
Red Cross Hospital Children's Centre
46 Sawkins Road
Tel: 021 685 4103

Rape Crisis Cape Town Trust
23 Trill Road
24-hour Helpline: 021 447 9762


First-time visitors to a local clinic will be asked to fill out a form and a folder will be opened for the patient. Bring your ID book. A referral letter from the clinic will be required when visiting a hospital. Hospitals will ask for your most recent payslip/income assessment (IRP5). Bring your hospital card if previously registered at the hospital.

Provided At: These facility categories:
Provided by:
Government Body: (Western Cape Government)
The content on this page was last updated on 23 January 2014