City's bid to break the stigma attached to mental illness

Tshwane MMC for health Rina Marx. Picture: Supplied

Tshwane MMC for health Rina Marx. Picture: Supplied

Published Jul 5, 2024


The City of Tshwane has introduced mental health services at its 24 clinics in a bid to provide effective treatment and break the stigma associated with mental illness.

MMC for Health Rina Marx, said as of July 1 all 24 primary healthcare clinics began offering primary mental health services.

The City’s announcement coincided with the commemoration of July as mental illness awareness month.

Marx said: “Mental illness refers to conditions that affect a person’s thoughts, emotions and overall well-being. Such conditions can include anxiety disorders, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, to name a few. Of concern is the stigma attached to mental illness, which acts as a barrier to people seeking help.”

She said the Danville, Saulsville, Mamelodi West, Atteridgeville and Hercules clinics offered both primary and secondary mental health services.

“Services at our clinics include prevention, screening, diagnosis, treatment, counselling and referrals,”she said.

She added that secondary services were provided at the clinics when mental health conditions could not be managed by the staff at primary healthcare clinics, and required the more specialised community clinicians psychiatric team.

“These secondary services are provided by the Gauteng Department of Health as and when required at the mentioned facilities. This integrated approach aims to improve access to community members in need,” she said.

All interventions, she said, were underpinned by the national mental health policy framework and strategic plan for 2023 to 2030.

“This plan prioritises mental well-being promotion, illness prevention and equitable access to quality services. It advocates for the integration of mental health into primary healthcare and community settings, alongside the provision of culturally sensitive care,” Marx said.

She said the introduction of mental health services into the comprehensive package of primary healthcare services already on offer at the City’s clinics, was a significant achievement.

“These interventions aim to offer residents timely and effective care and help break the stigma and discrimination associated with mental illness. Residents are encouraged to make use of these services,”she said.

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