Evaluation of the Health System Costs of Mental Health Services

The South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) together with the Alan J Flisher Centre for Public Mental Health (CPMH) released the full technical report of the Evaluation of the Health System Costs of Mental Health Services and Programmes in South Africa.

Responding to some of SA’s challenges in relation to the mental health system, for the first time, this study offers a nationally representative reflection of the state of mental health spending and elucidates inefficiencies and constraints emanating from existing mental health investments in South Africa, achieving one of the highest sample sizes of any costing study conducted for mental health in LMICs.

Donela Besada, one of the co-authors on the study and a Senior Scientist at the SAMRC’s Health Systems Research Unit notes that while there are still information gaps related to the mental health system, South Africa has, over the last two decades, taken steps towards strengthening its mental health care. These include reforming the Mental Health Care Act 2002 and developing a National Mental Health Policy Framework and Strategic Plan 2013–2020.

This research endeavor was funded by the Alan J Flisher Centre for Public Mental Health (CPMH), University of Cape Town and involved a joint effort of the SAMRC, national and provincial Departments of Health.

(i) Full report
(ii) Open access publication
(iii) The Conversation news article

Web: www.samrc.ac.za

World Trauma Day, 17 October 2019

World Trauma Day, observed in October, emphasises the importance of saving and protecting a life during the most critical moments and preparing and applying critical measures to deal with and avoid trauma fatalities. World Trauma Day stresses that, trauma is a major cause of death and disability across the world. World Health Organization (WHO) research has shown that at least fifty percent of road deaths occurring in developing countries could have been prevented with effective intervention after trauma has occurred, that is:

  • immediate pre-hospital care;
  • adequate knowledge of handling emergency situations (involves training of personnel);
  • adequate supply of pre-hospital care equipment and facilities (enough ambulances and other medical supplies).

What is Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)?

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental disorder that can develop after a person is exposed to a traumatic event, such as sexual assault, warfare, traffic collisions, or other threats on a person’s life. Symptoms may include disturbing thoughts, feelings, or dreams related to the events, mental or physical distress to trauma-related cues, attempts to avoid trauma-related cues, alterations in how a person thinks and feels, and increased fight or flight responses. These symptoms last for over a month after the event. Those with PTSD are at a higher risk of suicide and substance abuse. Most people who experience a traumatic event will have reactions that may include shock, anger, nervousness, fear, and even guilt. These reactions are common, and for most people, they go away over time. For a person with PTSD, however, these feelings continue and even increase, becoming so strong that they keep the person from living a normal life. People with PTSD cannot function as well as before the event occurred and it often takes a large toll on their loved-ones.

There are treatments for PTSD, such as talk therapy and medication. Untreated PTSD is very dangerous. If you think that you or a loved one may be suffering from PTSD, see a professional about assessing your situation. Treatment can be very effective in reducing symptoms over time.