NWU academic reviews mental health in an unequal world

Prof Leepile Sehularo, an associate professor in the North-West University’s (NWU’s) School of Nursing, conducted a literature review in line with the theme for World Mental Health Day 2022 – “Mental Health in an Unequal World”.

The World Federation for Mental Health has encouraged researchers to share their knowledge about mental health inequality and to suggest ways how this inequality may be addressed.

Written from a South African perspective, Prof Sehularo’s paper was submitted to and accepted by the Journal of Gender and Behaviour.

His paper addresses six themes – South African mental health laws, access to mental health care, treatment and rehabilitation services, lack of mental health directorate, lack of support for mental health review boards and the lack or insufficient budget for mental health services.

Prof Sehularo recommends that resources should be made available for mental health care, treatment and rehabilitation services in South Africa.

“These resources include material, experienced and qualified personnel, facilities, and funds. A strong collaboration between all the relevant stakeholders at all levels is needed to address the inequalities experienced by mental health care users, and to ensure the effective implementation of the Mental Health Care Act,” he says.

“These stakeholders include the national and provincial Departments of Health managers, heads of health establishments, heads of higher education institutions, mental health care practitioners, community leaders, academics, researchers and mental health care users.”

Prof Sehularo says there is also a need to strengthen leadership at Departments of Health on provincial and national level.

“Mental health directorates with their own budgets should be established in all provinces to advance the mental health agenda. These directorates should also employ mental health care practitioners who have the relevant experience and qualifications.

“These directorates should ensure that mental health review boards are constituted, functioning, and supported. Policy makers should be strengthened to develop, implement and evaluate effective policies that are aimed at promoting and maintaining the mental health care, treatment, and rehabilitation services in South Africa,” he adds.

“It is also critical to conduct more research on the rights and duties relating to mental health care users as enshrined in Chapter 3 of the Mental Health Care Act (Act 17 of 2002), Chapter 2 of the Constitution (Act 108 of 1996), and relevant laws.”


Prof Leepile Sehularo

Submitted on Thu, 05/19/2022 - 08:48