looking forward to 2002
a 2nd edition of the Afrikaans textbook to be published in
February as well as the first edition English counterpart.
The False Alarm! will be published in a book format (no ring
binder) for easier distribution. It will include an additional
chapter on substance abuse. The books will also be distributed
to Employee Assistance Programmes so that the information
is accessible to people in their work environments. The Algorithm
book and Resource Guide will be updated and published in June
and September respectively. Distribution is directly to the
subscribers of SAMJ, CME and SAJP.
We are presently organising Brain Awareness Week 2002, which
will include an art competition for junior school children
in the Western Cape, school and old-aged home talks with free
memory-testing, library and community clinic involvement,
as well as a media campaign including relevant articles and
radio interviews. Planning for NADAW in October will begin
early in the New Year. We are working closely with other mental
health organisations and consumer bodies for both campaigns,
in order to strengthen and improve awareness among the lay
public and consumers.
We plan to host four CME activities during 2002 addressing
topics such as Memory Testing, PTSD/Violence, Epilepsy &
Alzheimer's and OCD. Consumer talks and health days will also
be a focus. Nursing students and volunteers will continue
to rotate through the centre where they will receive valuable
training and assist us with administrative and information
gathering/ dissemination tasks. Mental Disorders in Primary
Care: Our involvement will continue with the Dept of Family
Medicine & Primary Care as it is one of our goals to improve
GP knowledge of the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders
in primary care settings. Planning for the Psychopharmacology
2003 congress starts early next year to ensure a high quality
event. A GP focussed workshop will be added to the main congress.
We will continue to improve and expand our website for greater
user accessibility and information dissemination. We are also
working on the Resource Guide going online next year
watch this space!
This will remain an important aspect of our work as we link
the research efforts and findings of the MRC Research Unit
on Anxiety and Stress Disorders with the public. Screening
of recruits for drug trials will also continue. We will extend
our mental health literacy and attitude studies to include
the corporate world.
Referral & information centre:
We no longer have a toll-free number, but continue to offer
referrals and information to the lay public, media, medical
and mental health professionals as well as consumer bodies.
World Health report 2001, Mental Health:
New understanding, new hope
to the World Health Organisation's World Health Report 2001,
one in four people in the world will be affected by mental or
neurological disorders at some point in their lives. Around
450 million people currently suffer from these conditions, placing
mental disorders among the leading causes of ill health and
disability worldwide. The WHO estimates that nearly two-thirds
of people with a known mental disorder never seek help from
a health professional, although treatment is in many cases available.
Stigma, discrimination and neglect are identified as barriers
to care and treatment reaching people with mental disorders.
report aims to raise public and professional awareness of the
real burden of mental disorders and their costs in human, social
and economic terms. Governments are urged to look for mental
health solutions that are already available and affordable.
Ten recommendations are made that can be adapted by each country
according to its needs and resources.
treatment of mental disorders in primary care:
A fundamental step that enables the largest number of people
to get easier and faster access to services. This calls for
the training of general health personnel in the essential
skills of mental health care, by including mental health in
training curricula and refresher courses.
psychotropic drugs available: By making these drugs
available symptoms can be improved, disability reduced, the
course of many disorders shortened and relapse prevented.
Where psychosocial interventions and specialist professionals
are unavailable, i.e. in under-resourced areas, these drugs
provide first-line treatment.
Give care in the community:
By providing community mental health care and utilising all
available resources, a better effect on the quality of life
and outcome of individuals with chronic mental illness is
possible. Furthermore, the care of patients is more cost-effective
and respectful of human rights, leading to early intervention
and limiting the stigma of treatment.
Educate the public:
Well-planned public awareness and education campaigns can
reduce stigma and discrimination, increase the use of mental
health services, and bring mental and physical health care
closer to each other.
Involve communities, families and consumers:
This would lead to services having a better fit to people's
needs and thus improving utilisation.
national policies, programmes and legislation:
Mental health reforms should form part of larger health systems
reforms. Health insurance schemes should not discriminate
against persons with mental disorders, in order to increase
access to treatment and reduce the burden of care.
human resources: As most developing countries lack
an adequate number of specialists to staff mental health services,
training of mental health professionals such as psychiatrists,
clinical psychologists, psychiatric nurses, psychiatric social
workers and occupational therapists should be increased and
with other sectors: Linking with and involving
other non-health sectors such as education, labour, welfare,
law, and non-governmental organisations, can improve the mental
health of communities. This should involve co-operation and
the sharing of resources to find solutions to a common community
community mental health: Mental health indicators
should be included in health information and reporting systems.
Monitoring is necessary to assess the effectiveness of mental
health prevention and treatment programmes, and also strengthens
arguments for the provision of further resources.
more research: The report stresses the need to
build the research capacity in developing countries. Research
into the biological and psychosocial aspects of mental health
are required to increase understanding of mental disorders
and develop more effective interventions. International research
interaction would improve the understanding of variations
across communities and more can be learnt about the factors
influencing the cause, course and outcome of mental disorders.
Health Information Centre contributes to many aspects of these
recommendations. We believe that through our work and research
we are addressing crucial issues to improve the early diagnosis,
treatment and de-stigmatisation of mental illness in South Africa.
HEALTH INFORMATION CENTRE OF SOUTH AFRICA
Tel: +27 21 938 9229 / Fax: +27 21 933 5790
PO Box 19063, Tygerberg 7505, South Africa