South Africa
South Africa

With hundreds of South Africans taking their own lives annually, mental health illness was still widespread, the National Department of Health said on Thursday.

“Mental illness is highly prevalent in South Africa and according to The Lancet, it is also a global phenomena. Local surveys estimate that the 12-month prevalence of mental disorders is 16.5 percent and life time prevalence is 30 percent,” health department spokesman Foster Mohale told Xinhua.

Business24

His remarks come as the globe observed World Mental Health Day on Thursday under the theme of suicide prevention.

The department said its objective was to raise awareness about what could be done to prevent and reduce suicide related deaths.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that one person dies every 40 seconds globally as a result of suicide. Majority of those who are likely to die due to suicide are aged between 15 and 29 years.

Mohale said the department was collaborating with various mental health organizations in an effort to educate the public about mental illness and to tackle stigma and discrimination associated with the issue. The department was also implementing other policies aimed at improving mental healthcare.

“Strengthening the implementation of the Mental Health Act and the implementation of the National mental health policy framework and strategic plan 2013-2020. Provinces have established district mental health teams, which support clinics,” he said.

Mohale added the number of healthcare workers to treat mental illness has been increased and infrastructure improved.

“Medical and professional nurses were trained on mental health to improve detection and management of patients. 920 trained so far this year to reach a target of 1000 by end of year,” he said.

“These were selected from campus health services, district hospitals, correctional health services and primary health clinics,” he said. Enditem

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