Drawing on a mix of patient stories as well as expert commentary, the 43-page report describes the challenges patients face in accessing quality mental health services in the country’s rural areas. Presenting a rare glimpse into budgetary processes for mental health, the report argues that there has never been any systemic tracking of mental health budgets. This has contributed to drastically low levels of mental health spending.
The report also notes that there are less than three occupational therapists, physiotherapists and psychologists for every 100,000 people in the public sector.
Finally, in a commentary by the AIDS lobby group the Treatment Action Campaign, the report notes that the mental health of people living with HIV continues to be neglected despite a dramatic increase in access to antiretrovirals.
The report recommends that provinces translate the country’s National Mental Health Policy Framework into provincial and operational plans. These plans must include targets, timelines and budgets that support the realisation of quality mental health services for rural populations.
Finally, provincial departments must monitor the implementation of the National Mental Health Policy Framework and ensure sustainable budgeting for mental health to develop the capacity of the department of health and partners.
Download the report: Rural Mental Health Campaign Report