Category Archives: End Stigma

Impact of maternal depression and anxiety on child development

A number of new studies have found that stress, depression or anxiety during and after pregnancy can have long lasting effects on the development of your child.

We have translated some of those findings into an Issue Brief and added some of our recommendations for evidence based interventions for parents.

maternal mental health care

This Issue Brief outlines not only the risk factors for parents, but also encourages the building of resilience to prevent or lessen the negative impacts for children.

caring for the future

“Caring for mothers and fathers – is caring for the future”

One in three migrant women from low- and middle-income countries has symptoms of perinatal depression

Migration and perinatal mental health in women from low- and middle-income countries.

In this systematic review and meta-analysis the authors summarising the prevalence, associated factors and interventions for perinatal mental disorders in migrant women from low- and middle-income countries (LMIC).

Even though they found that the prevalence of perinatal depression is very high among migrant women, the data they found was insufficient to assess the burden of anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder or psychosis in this population.

Furthermore the authors stress, that given the adverse consequences of perinatal mental illness on women and their children, further research in low-resource settings is a priority.

Read the abstract in the BJOG – International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaeocology

migrant_women_mental_health

Interested in mental illness among displaced, migrant and refugee women in South Africa? Read our Issue Brief

Documentary Film Festival: spotlight on mental health care

#DignityInMind – Raising Awareness on World Mental Health Day

On Monday 10 October 2016 people across the globe will commemorate World Mental Health Day, and in Cape Town, South Africa, it’s no different.

With four screenings of various documentary films focusing on mental health in South Africa, the #DignityInMind Documentary Film Festival aims to educate and empower Capetonians to speak up about mental health.

The festival forms part of the #DignityInMind campaign spearheaded by the Alan J Flisher Centre for Public Mental Health (CPMH). This year’s campaign brings together mental health organisations from across the entire country to share their ideas and support one another’s activities for an even bigger campaign and an online hub where information and events are shared.

The #DignityInMind Festival will be taking place at the Labia on Orange in Cape Town. This will include he much-anticipated Cape Town premiere of Doc-U-Mentally, a documentary looking at the physical and mental challenges five doctors on a 30-hour shift at Ngwelezane Hospital in Empangeni, KwaZulu-Natal face.

filmfestival_flyer_front

Other documentaries to be screened, include Voices from the Edge. This short film investigates the work of the Programme for Improving Mental Health Care in South Africa and Nepal and takes the viewer on a journey of 2 Nepalese and 2 South African families personal experience of living with, or supporting a family member living with mental illness.

Caring for Mothers confronts viewers with the massive challenges South African mothers with perinatal mental health problems face every day and it shows how the Perinatal Mental Health Project aims to relieve this burden.

Normal is a short documentary looking at a day in the life of Dr John Parker, a psychiatrist at Lentegeur Psychiatric Hospital and the director of the Spring Foundation.

Shows rotating these films will be screened at 11:30, 13:45 and 16:00. The Doc-U-Mentally premiere will take place at 18:15. Entry for all four shows will be R40 and can be booked by calling 021 424 5927. Ticket will also be available at the door.

For a full programme, please visit the #DignityInMind campaign website at bitly.com/mentalhealthsa.

The Alan J Flisher Centre for Public Mental Health (CPMH) grew out of a shared vision and commitment to collaboration between members of the Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health at the University of Cape Town (UCT), and the Psychology Department at Stellenbosch University (SU).

Contact details

For queries and interviews, email us on media@cpmh.org.za and visit http://bit.ly/mentalhealthsa.

This year’s initiative is possible thanks to the following partners:

Adding their voices to this year’s call for dignity in mental health, are the Perinatal Mental Health Project (PMHP), Programme for Improving Mental Health Care (PRIME) and the Mental Health Innovation Network Africa (MHIN Africa) – all from UCT – and  Cape Mental Health (CMH), the South African Federation for Mental Health (SAFMH), RuReSA & the Rural Mental Health Campaign (RMHC), LifeLine Western Cape, Khuluma, the Ithemba Foundation & the Mental Health Information Centre (MHIC).

Bush Radio is a proud media sponsor of the #DignityInMind campaign.

Mental Health First Aid: A beginner’s guide to being on happy pills

In this latest #DignityInMind campaign blogpost, Kate gives us an insight into her relationship to anti-depressants.

I popped my first anti-depressants ten years ago, and I count myself lucky that in all the years since, no-one has ever given me a hard time about being on medication for my mental state. Frankly, if anyone did, I wouldn’t care.

People (not me obviously) find it hard to talk about, and even harder to find help for. My oversharing, it seems, might be a public service.

happy-pills

Source: World Mental Health Month – #DignityInMind

We Need to Talk About Suicide Prevention in South Africa

Suicide prevention is a serious public health priority, globally and in South Africa (SA). The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that annually 800 000 people die by suicide, with the number expected to rise to 1.53 million by 2020. For every completed suicide there are approximately 20 non-fatal suicide attempts.  As many as 75% of suicides occur in low and middle income countries.

Suicide-Post-Pic-1
Photo: Jean Gerber

In SA suicide accounts for 9.6% of all unnatural deaths and there is approximately one completed suicide every hour. Data from the National Injury and Mortality Surveillance System suggests that 80% of suicides in SA are male and the number of suicide deaths is highest among individuals of 15 to 29 years of age.

Read the full blog by Dr Jason Bantjes on our DignityInMind campaign site.

Suicide risks among pregnant women and new mothers

To mark World Suicide Prevention Day we’d like to focus on suicidal thoughts during the perinatal period

Mothers’ emotional needs can go undetected during the perinatal period where there is much attention on the baby and women often face multiple difficulties. Studies have shown that women at risk for suicide may be easier identified, by increasing screening of expectant and new mothers for major depression and conflicts with intimate partners. Thus care providers and family may be able to detect symptoms and signs of suicidal thoughts and possibly prevent further distress or the development of suicidal behaviour.

Symptoms and warning signs include 

– Talk of suicide or dying “If I died, would you miss me?” or “It would be better if I were not here or dead.”
– Depressive symptoms, including feelings of guilt, hopelessness or no sense of the future.
– Feeling isolated or wanting to be alone “No one understands me”.
– Obsessive thinking – thinking ‘too much’, especially about harming oneself or dying
– Giving things away (clothes, expensive gifts), “When I am gone, I want you to have this.”

Our recently produced Issue Brief deals with some of the risk factors and unearths some of the myths surrounding suicide during and after pregnancy.

Suicide during pregnancy - myths

Read this and other Issue Briefs on our website

#WSPD16 will be commemorated on 10 September
Join the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #WSPD16

Mission impossible? Replacing abuse with empathy

“Cindy* neglected her four children to such an extent that social workers removed the youngest two, both toddlers.

But after Nadia Drotsche, a social worker dealing with Cindy, attended a course on empathic training, she realised that Cindy might be depressed rather than an uncaring and lazy parent.”

abuse during childbirth
Photo: Irin News

Abused in labour, depressed after giving birth – pregnancy can be a nightmare for women. But an inexpensive intervention by the Perinatal Mental Health Project (PMHP) is trying to change this by teaching caregivers to listen, empathise, and identify depression.

Read more in this article by Kerry Cullinan in the Daily Maverick

Tackling the ‘New Beast’: Mental Health for People Living with HIV

To commemorate International Youth Day we advocate for better mental health for vulnerable teenagers 

Across the world, developing countries are making progress in tackling the HIV epidemic. According to UNAIDS, in 2012 South Africa registered more than 450,000 new HIV infections, a significant drop from the 640,000 new infections registered in 2001. They’ve achieved this radical progress through the provision of antiretroviral therapy (ART) to more than 2.4 million people.

The ‘New Beast’: Mental Illness Among People Living with HIV

In South Africa, 38% of people living with HIV have a common mental health disorder. This is more than triple the incidence of mental health conditions for the general South African population. What’s shocking is that in this era of ART, increased advocacy, and knowledge of the condition, there has not been a decrease in prevalence of mental illness in people living with HIV, but a two-fold increase.

Depression, anxiety and other mental health disorders are of particular concern in patients with HIV because they can lead to:
• Poor treatment adherence
• Lower CD4 counts
• Increased viral load
• A greater chance of developing drug-resistant strains of HIV

Source: Mental Health Innovation Network

HIV and Maternal Mental illness

The enormous emotional strain of living with HIV, including its social and financial consequences, makes women vulnerable to depression and anxiety. On the other hand, those women with mental illness are more vulnerable to becoming HIV positive. A depressed woman is less likely to be able to negotiate safe sex due to low self-esteem, a sense of hopelessness or financial dependency.

HIV nursing matters
Image: HIV Nursing Matters

Women at risk
• HIV+ mothers are particularly vulnerable to mental illness during and after pregnancy
• Mental illness affects how women use maternity, child health services and HIV services
• Mental illness has been found to have negative impacts on how HIV+ women adhere to their own and their child’s HIV treatment
• Mental health support and social support for HIV+ mothers is vital for the general health of women, their babies and families

Read more on the subject in our Issue Brief

Teenage pregnancy and mental illness

Approximately 30% of teenagers in South Africa report ‘ever having been pregnant’, the majority, unplanned. The likelihood of a subsequent teenage pregnancy nearly doubles when adolescent mothers suffer from depression.


teen pregnancy
Image: PSI Impact

Adolescents at risk
• Adolescents who become pregnant are more likely to have relationships that are coercive and abusive
• They are more likely to have had a forced first sexual experience, or physical or sexual abuse, and tend to experience a loss of support from family, friends or school
•  They are also more likely to engage in high risk sexual behaviour or be using substances and alcohol
• Adolescent and young pregnant women are at increased risk of mother-to-child transmission of HIV

Read more on the subject in our Issue Brief

Mentally ill? Bewitched, or you simply study too hard.

“Maela felt unable to open up to his family about his manic feelings, largely due to the cultural stigma tied to mental illness in South Africa and beyond.”

Read more about this remarkable photo documentary in which Maela describes how mental illness is often misunderstood, misdiagnosed or completely ignored in black communities!

mental illness south africa

Source: The Huffington Post

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