Mental illness and mental health problems appear to be increasing in importance in Africa.
Between 2000 and 2015, the continent’s population grew by 49%, yet the number of years lost to disability as a result of mental and substance use disorders increased by 52%, according to the medical journal the Lancet.
But as times change and as we enter a post-pandemic world, the need for reliable and quality mental health care is crucial if we are to tackle mental health in Africa.
This comes at a crucial time when symptoms of anxiety and depression are exacerbated by financial strain as inflation on basic goods and fuel spiral.
Rolling power blackouts caused by load shedding add to the stresses that South Africans face as they try to navigate the demands of running businesses and households in the context of interrupted power supply.
Recent findings of a UNICEF South Africa U-Report poll highlight this reality, with some 65 percent of young people stating that they had some form of a mental health issue but did not seek help.
According to data from the South African Society of Psychiatrists, there are only 1.52 psychiatrists per 100 000 people in the country, and they’re mostly concentrated in just two provinces – Gauteng and the Western Cape.
This compares to more than 30 per 100 000 for some countries in Europe – almost 20 times more.
Author: Health Reporter