Report shows that 75% of mental illness sufferers don't get the appropriate help

Do you sometimes feel isolated, cut off from those around you? Or do you find that you can’t sleep or perhaps you want to just stay in that state of sleep and not get out of bed? Or do you feel your problems are so overwhelming you try to drink them away?

Well, these symptoms affect more South Africans than you may think.

A report from the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Cape Town (UCT),(from 2004-2014) states that one-third of the South African population suffers from some form of mental illness. What is even more surprising is that 75% of these sufferers do NOT get the appropriate help.

According to Dr Dominique Stott, these could be the first signs of mental illness. Stott says the stats incorporate a broad range of mental illnesses.

I think it is generic across the world to say that most people do not get the help they need for various reasons.

Dr Dominique Stott, Executive: Medical Standards and Services at PPS

She explains that stigmas play a role and a lack of availability of health care, especially in rural areas are some of the reasons people don't seek or receive help.

Stott also highlights the impact mental illnesses may have on the economy because mental illness sufferers are likely to spend more time off from work and may eventually lead to a disability phase.

Then they become the drain on their family rather than an income earner.

Dr Dominique Stott, Executive: Medical Standards and Services at PPS

An employee should also be able to identify signs of someone suffering from mental illness.

She says as soon an abnormal behavioural pattern manifests, an employee should be referred to a health professional. If left unattended and undiagnosed for too long then that person is in danger of taking lengthier periods to recover and thus lead to disability and a host of other problems such as the loss of a job and income.

Listen to the rest of the mental illness discussion here:


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