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SAMJ: South African Medical Journal

On-line version ISSN 2078-5135
Print version ISSN 0256-9574


JACOB, N  and  COETZEE, D. Mental illness in the Western Cape Province, South Africa: A review of the burden of disease and healthcare interventions. SAMJ, S. Afr. med. j. [online]. 2018, vol.108, n.3, pp.176-180. ISSN 2078-5135.

Neuropsychiatric disorders were ranked third as contributors to disability-adjusted life-years in South Africa (SA). Despite this high morbidity, mental health is often overlooked on the public health agenda. This article reviews evidence on the burden of mental illness in the Western Cape Province of SA, as well as current provincial interventions to decrease the burden of mental illness. Available evidence supports the need for improved integration of mental health services in primary healthcare and strengthening of community services. Challenges include a lack of capacity due to staff shortages and inadequate availability and allocation of resources. Evidence from large epidemiological studies to quantify the burden of disease as well as cost-effectiveness studies of interventions are required to successfully plan and implement interventions. Similar reviews may provide a national overview of mental health issues as well as allow improvement through better understanding of research and best practices in various provinces.

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