Mental health - cheap to treat but underfunded

2010-10-11 00:00

MORE than three-quarters of the people who suffer from mental health problems in poorer countries never have their problems diagnosed and treated, according to Professor Anthony Pillay, principal clinical psychologist at Nelson R. Mandela School of Medicine and Fort Napier Hospital.

Pillay was speaking at the annual World Mental Health Symposium held last week at Town Hill Hospital to mark World Mental Health Day. He said that although mental health services are increasingly being recognised as important, they receive inadequate funding: less than two percent of health funding around the world. Yet a 2007 report by the Global Mental Health Group noted that it would cost ­only about R28 per person per year to provide a basic mental health care package to people in low- to middle-income countries.

Hosted by the clinical psychology departments of Fort Napier and Town Hill hospitals, the symposium was attended almost 200 health care workers.



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