Page 1


A Newsletter for Supporters of the South African Federation for Mental Health

FROM THE DIRECTOR'S PEN Very few people enjoy thinking about growing old and the challenges that inevitably comes with it. We often hear dreadful stories about the abuse and neglect of our elderly citizens. What is supposed to be the 'golden years' of people's lives are for many, a time of hardship and difficulty. Factors such as poverty, social isolation, loss of independence, neglect from families, loneliness and losses of different kinds, can affect Mental Health and general health. Older adults are more likely to experience events such as bereavements or physical disability that affect emotional wellbeing and can result in poorer Mental Health. The irony is that the world population has never been more mature than now and experts fear that the world is not ready to support a growing elderly population. One of the negative consequences of the rapid ageing of the global population is the increase in the number of people with Mental Disorders, which will soon overwhelm the Mental Health system in many countries (WHO, 2013).

Mrs Bharti Patel National Director

Currently, the number of people aged 60 and over is more than 800 million. Projections indicate that by the year 2050, for the first time in history, seniors older than 60 will outnumber children younger than 15. It is a huge concern that in South Africa medical services for the elderly are scarce; perhaps even more so for those without private medical aid. The number of registered Geriatric Doctors in the country is extremely limited. Most rural hospitals have no Mental Health Specialists and older persons presenting with Dementia are often misdiagnosed. Care facilities in rural areas for older persons with Mental Health problems are almost non-existent. Older persons are often locked away and suffer sexual, physical, emotional and financial abuse. Primary health, community care and social service sectors need to be sensitised and supported to deal with elderly abuse. Yes, the experts are concerned about the growing elderly population of the world. However, it seems that they have not specifically taken into consideration the impact that the situation will have on the Mental Health of elderly people and the strain which that, in turn, will place on the Health Care System. The National Office is currently raising awareness on Mental Health and Older Persons through our October campaign, by demanding that Government give critical attention to providing adequate care and support for the elderly and allocate more resources to ensure their safety. We also encourage the general public to consider the facts and to become involved where they can to make a difference. Older people living with Mental Illnesses such as Depression, Dementia and Alzheimer's are vulnerable and require special care and attention. (Continued on Page 2)

S.A. Federation for Mental Health



As an organisation, the National Office is also getting on in years as we celebrated our 93rd year of existence in 2013. Often, the assumption is that, because we are an established organisation and have been around for so long, we don't need help to sustain our work. That could not be further from the truth. We possibly need your support more now than ever! We ask you to continue your loyal support of our work. It is invaluable to the Federation and its mission. As we are now rapidly approaching the end of 2013, I want to wish you and yours a blessed Festive Season. May this be a special time of togetherness with your loved ones. Yours in Mental Health

Mrs Bharti Patel National Director

WALL OF FAME Cape Mental Health celebrates 100 years of service The National Office is proud of Cape Mental Health, who recently celebrated their Centenary. For an entire century, the organisation has been a beacon of hope in its local communities. We wish them the very best for the next 100 years! Below is a short piece from Cape Mental Health on their celebrations and the launch of their brand new logo:

The highlight of Cape Mental Health's Centenary celebrations thus far has been our 100th AGM, held on 22 August 2013 with the theme of New Horizons 100 Years and Beyond. Three hundred guests, including our full complement of 126 staff members, as well as Board members, volunteers, service-users, donors and supporters enjoyed an AGM where business matters were interspersed with tributes to the organisation, a three-course meal, and music items by the University of the Western Cape Big Band and the Cape Mental Health choir. The dignified setting of Kelvin Grove in Newlands lent an old-world charm to this milestone event, as we reflected on the modest beginnings of Cape Mental Health in June 1913, when a group of concerned Capetonians met to take a stand against the violation of defenseless young women with 'mental handicap' on the streets of our Mother City. We were elated and humbled by the good wishes we received during and after the event. Toni Tickton, CMH

Director from 1984 to 2000, commented that the highlights of the evening for her were: “the green tie of your events organiser, the scarves of the choir and their music sheets which opened into messages, hearing Amelia Jones (Past CEO of the Community Chest of the Western Cape, 19932013) and seeing former colleagues, the violin duo, the quality of the PowerPoint presentations, the gaily decorated pegs (created by trainees with intellectual disability from our Training Workshops Unlimited) at the tables…..not to mention the delicious food ... “ This once-in-a-lifetime celebration for Cape Mental Health and its stakeholders could not have been possible without significant discounts and donations in kind for this specific function, and provided an ideal opportunity for us to leverage support for our plans for programme continuation and service expansion into rural communities in the future. “We are very grateful that we have been able to celebrate, in such a special way, the positive impact we have had on so many lives over the years,” comments Ingrid Daniels, Cape Mental Health Director.




Durban & Coastal Mental Health celebrated the opening of its new Kwa-Ximba Day Care Centre on 10 May 2013 with 330 invited guests, funders, parents, officials from government department, the Inkosi Mlaba, Traditional Leaders, Councillors, children and staff. His Worship the Mayor of eThekwini Municipality, Councillor James Nxumalo, Inkosi Mlaba, Head of the Traditional Council and Prof Alfred Nevhutanda, Chairperson of the National Lotteries Board, undertook the official opening.

Upscaling of Mental Health Services In July this year, the National Office ran a campaign on the upscaling of Mental Health Services in the country. Despite alarming facts regarding the rapid increase in Mental Disorders worldwide, Mental Health Care still receives a disproportionately small portion of health budgets. Psychiatric services lag far behind other services in terms of funding, infrastructure development, human resources and the provision of appropriate medical supplies and treatments. Many countries have either outdated or no Mental Health legislation and, almost universally, Mental Health is not recognised as a key health priority meriting specific planning and financing, even though it is estimated that depression will be the second most disabling health condition in the world by 2020.

The Kwa-Ximba Day Care Centre provides a secure, enabling and compassionate environment in which 50 children with severe and profound disabilities can advance their abilities. The new centre replaces another centre that previously operated from rented accommodation in a small building in Kwa-Ximba. In addition, two offices have been built, one for a Social Worker from Durban & Coastal Mental Health and a second office for Social Workers from other NGOs in Durban, to utilise on a roster basis so that their specialised services can be brought to the community of Kwa-Ximba, as well as a multi-purpose Boardroom to be utilised for meetings, support groups and for training sessions.

The South African Federation for Mental Health is particularly concerned about the lack of hospital beds available for Mental Health Service Users, as well as the insufficient aftercare which patients receive postdischarge, often causing them to end up back in institutions shortly after discharge.

This project highlights Durban & Coastal Mental Health's conscious and strategic aspiration for excellence in service delivery in rural communities. Award

This “Revolving Door” phenomenon has accompanied a policy shift towards de-institutionalised care; the high rate of re-admission is mostly due to poor treatment adherence, substance abuse and early discharge owing to bed shortages.

In April 2013, Durban & Coastal Mental Health was proud to have scooped four awards at the prestigious National Lotteries Board Inaugural Awards Function. The Awards were: • • • •

There are only 80 Day Treatment Facilities available in the country (for a population of 47 million) and half of these are run by Non-Governmental Organisations, who are in most cases reliant on ever-decreasing government funding to continue fulfilling these essential functions. There are 0.36 beds per 10,000 population, located within 63 Community Residential Facilities nationwide. Half of these are provided by the South African Federation for Mental Health.

Achievement Award for Compliance: Sports Sector Achievement Award for Compliance: Arts Sector Achievement Award for Governance: Charities Sector Overall Winner Award for Compliance: Charities Sector

Soaring to Success Sipho Mjoka, a resident at the Sherwood Hostel (a residential facility situated on the premises of Durban & Coastal Mental Health) who has to date received 200 medals, has been selected as a swimmer by the South African Sport Association for Para-athletes with an Intellectually Disability (SASA-PID) to represent South Africa at the 8th INAS World Swimming Championships in Noumea, New Caledonia in the South Pacific, from 18th to 24th August 2013. Sipho returned with 4 silver medals and is now ranked TOP 3 in the World Rankings. He has also been identified as part of the Senior Squad for Paralympics 2016. This groundbreaking achievement has shown that given the opportunity, people with intellectual disability have unlimited potential. Durban & Coastal Mental Health will continue to support Sipho in soaring to greater heights!

Mental Health Services continue to labour under the legacy of colonial Mental Health systems, with heavy reliance on Mental Hospitals. There are 23 Mental Health Hospitals in the country and 56% of Mental Health beds are located in these facilities. This is an outdated form of care, which is vulnerable to human rights abuses and stigmatisation of Mental Health Care Service Users. The current picture of Mental Health across South Africa is a challenging one at best. The South African Federation for Mental Health raised awareness around the lack of beds available for Mental Health Care Users - specifically aimed at Government Departments and the community - during its July campaign in support of Psychiatric Disability Awareness month. Extensive research was conducted on Mental Health resources in the country, and will advocate and lobby for the upscaling of Mental Health resources in South Africa throughout the year. Government will be asked to address these issues in a 5-year plan. (Continued on Page 4)


Upscaling of Mental Health Services (CONT.)

recognise that we play an important role nationally in terms of furthering the cause for Mental Health in South Africa.

It is obvious that there is a serious need to establish parity for Mental Health Services across South Africa, to use existing human and infrastructure resources as efficiently as possible, and to develop additional resources over time. Until the seriousness of the matter is fully realised by all key role players, however, Mental Health will remain at the bottom of the list of national priorities (to the detriment of all South Africans).

We are therefore very proud to announce a new partnership between SAFMH, Webber Wentzel Attorneys and ProBono.Org, aimed at providing affordable legal assistance to persons with Mental Disabilities. This service can be accessed via the National Office of SAFMH by contacting Ivy Masilela on 011 781 1852 or at, who will act as initial facilitator between the client and our legal partners. The National Office will continue to monitor the progress of the case, and will provide support as and when required.

The National Office spent a significant amount of time on this campaign in order to bring this serious matter to the attention of Government, the media and the public. It is still being addressed at every available opportunity. The response from the media was encouraging. However, the crisis is far from over. The National Office requires continued support from its donors to carry out its work.

We are confident that this new initiative will go a long way towards improving the lives of persons with Mental Disabilities in South Africa.

Legal support for persons with mental health disabilities

Mental Health Watch

In its 90 years of existence, SAFMH has had many encounters with Mental Health Care Users who, for various reasons, have been in need of legal assistance because of issues such as abuse and violations of their human rights. The media also often reports cases where persons with Mental Illness or Intellectual Disability are prosecuted without the required legal assistance. Some cases also involve persons who have been abused within their family environments, or even by service providers who are meant to be supporting these individuals.

The National Office is currently planning a review of existing human rights violations reporting procedures across South Africa, with the aim to design and implement new reporting mechanisms where the need exists. We are hoping to involve Mental Health Care Users, Mental Health Societies, Member Organisations, the Human Rights Commission, the Human Rights Foundation, and legal partners in this. The project, named Mental Health Watch, was started in response to the ongoing issues around human rights violations not being reported and dealt with properly.

As a National Office, we recognise the need to try and increase legal assistance for Mental Health Care Users who might be at risk of having their human rights violated, and

Any enquiries related to human rights violations or any organisations looking to become involved, can contact Ivy Masilela at the National Office for more information.

MANDELA DAY - UNITING FOR GREATER GOOD On 18 July, South Africa and the rest of the world was united by the global call to action for people to recognise their individual power to make a difference and help change the world around them for the better. Many companies and individuals committed themselves to help out a charity of their choice on this day, by spending 67 minutes of their time helping out in some way. The National Office was no exception. Our entire team went along to one of their Member Organisations, Forest Farm - a centre for persons with Cerebral Palsy, in Bryanston. There we painted walls and sanded down benches and thus made our contribution towards Mandela Day. This team effort not only contributed to the global call to action but also presented a wonderful opportunity for all staff to unite for a good cause other than their own.

Be Connected Join us on Facebook! 'Like' our page and participate in interesting discussions and debates on all matters concerning mental health. This is a great platform from which to interact with others and where important issues can be raised and addressed.

From left to right: Leon de Beer, Chanelle Albertyn, Costa Chimbalanga, Ivy Masilela, Bharti Patel, Maria Makhubu, Tsepiso Mahliwa and Onica Motsabitsabi. Front: Taryn White.

Annual Report The South African Federation for Mental Health had its Annual General Meeting on Wednesday 18 September 2012. This most recent report can be viewed on, or downloaded from our website at

CONTACT US Postal Address: Private Bag X3053, Randburg 2125 Enquiries: Telephone: +27 (0) 11 781 1852 Facsimile: +27 (0) 11 326 0625 General Enquiries: S.A. Federation for Mental Health


Visit our website at for more information on the role and function of the South African Federation for Mental Health. Remember that you can now safely make donations online - directly via our website! It's fast, secure and convenient.

Thoughts Newsletter: October 2013  

Occasional newsletter of the South African Federation for Mental Health

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you