Mental health services in South Africa
Roestenburg, Willem J.H.
Bila, Nontembeko J.
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The mental-health conditions and services in most African countries are of great concern. There is a stark distinction of health disparities between urban and rural communities across these countries. There is an unequal divide in the allocation of resources for health related services, and mental health services have become a political decision more than the fair distribution of resources. The situation is even worse in the less developed countries across the various sub-regions. People all over the African continent are increasingly being affected by many common psychological and mental health disorders, as well as illnesses that go untreated for many years. This book is based on the assumption that there is a need to examine the conditions/services of mental health prevailing in different African countries to inform and educate people about the situation, and also to serve as an additional source of knowledge on African mental health issues. Additionally, there is a dearth of literature on mental health services from multiple African countries accessible through one anthology. Also notable is that the social work and human services professions in Africa lack textbooks written by indigenous African educators on pertinent issues affecting the people in the continent. Therefore, this book serves to fill that gap and to contribute to literature concerning Africa. The book examines mental health conditions and services in terms of diagnoses, causes, treatment and psycho-social services provided by some countries in Africa, namely Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Uganda and Zambia. Even though, mental health issues have been written about by some African mental health specialists and experts, the chapters in this book are written mostly by African social work professionals and psychologists, and this is presumably the first of its kind. Each country describes the situations, conditions, resources, stigma/discrimination, traditional beliefs and practices concerning mental health, and also discusses the ways to improve the conditions and services for these populations