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Mental Health challenges influenced by factors – National Science and Technology Forum

Published Oct 9, 2023


A study published in 2022 revealed widespread mental health challenges in South Africa, influenced by factors like adverse childhood experiences (ACE), socio-economic status, geography, age, marital status, and education levels.

This study was done by the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) and the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) Development Pathways for Health Research Unit (DPHRU) and is titled: The prevalence of probable depression and probable anxiety, and the associations with adverse childhood experiences and socio-demographics: A National Survey in South Africa. The study was published in the journal Frontiers in Public Health.

In a statement by the National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF) Almost 20% of adults said that they suffered from impaired mental health, but less than a quarter of this population ever sought treatment.

“The country’s rates of mental illness are also more than double those in Brazil, which is also classified as a low- and middle-income country with high levels of inequality. Despite its rich cultural diversity and historical resilience, SA grapples with complex mental health challenges driven by poverty, inequality, and historical trauma,” read the statement

According to the statement the authors concluded that “adult mental health services are urgently needed [in SA] to identify groups of the population vulnerable to mental health problems for better targeting of interventions. Given the range of probable depression prevalence across the country, provincial level plans and resources should also reflect the burden of mental health problems in that province.”

Community Keepers (CK) CEO, Gerrit Laning believes that the anxious, withdrawn, or disruptive learners are often reacting from not being able to cope well with personal struggles from home and built-up traumas he says that they do not vocalise.

Laning says that sadly, that’s where we get the narrative that says kids from under served communities or from low-income communities are stupid or that they are slow or that they are lazy – all of those are untrue.

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Mental Health