Experts have expressed serious concern following the government’s recent admission that there is a growing number of untreated mentally ill patients in South Africa.
Health Minister Dr Joe Faahla has revealed in Parliament that more than six million people with common mental disorders are still waiting for treatment.
At the heart of Dr Phaahla’s written response to a parliamentary question is the shortage of professional psychiatric specialists in both public hospitals and private institutions.
Clinical psychologist Dr Saths Cooper says Dr Phaahla will need to quickly engage all stakeholders to find a common solution to this challenge.
“It is unconscionable for South Africa to face this burden of mental illness at a time when it can least afford it. We see it, the symptoms of it through gender-based violence, through the abuse of children and others vulnerable in our society, through the crime of statistics that makes us famous. This needs to change and I am sure that Minister Faahla and his department will engage with the relevant sectors, especially the professional sectors. The Psychological Professions of South Africa, among others.