Category Archives: Mental Health
Perinatal Mental Health Toolkit by the Royal College of General Practitioners
Up to one in five women and one in ten men are affected by mental health problems during pregnancy and the first year after birth. Unfortunately, only 50% of these are diagnosed.
Without appropriate treatment, the negative impact of mental health problems during the perinatal period is enormous and can have long-lasting consequences on not only women, but their partners and children too. However, this is not inevitable. When problems are diagnosed early and treatment offered promptly, these effects can be mitigated.
This toolkit provides a set of relevant tools to assist members of the primary care team to deliver the highest quality care to women with mental health problems in the perinatal period.
Source: Perinatal Mental Health Toolkit
Domestic violence is any physical, sexual, psychological or economic abuse that takes place between people who are sharing, or have recently shared a home.
In Africa, there is more violence against women than on any other continent. Three women are killed by their partners in South Africa every day, thats twice as many women than in the United States of America. Violence during pregnancy has negative effects for both the mother and the child. Abused women are more likely to delay getting pregnancy care and to attend fewer antenatal visits.
Our recent research study looked at pregnant women who experience domestic violence in Hanover Park, Cape Town. We looked at the profile of women who reported domestic violence and what factors in their lives were associated with this abuse.
We found that women who were experiencing domestic violence were more likely than those without domestic violence to:
– have a current mental health problem like depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts or behaviours, alcohol or drug abuse
– have had past mental health problems
– have experienced past abuse
– not feel supported by their partner
– not likely feel pleased about being pregnant
– more likely experience food insecurity and not have a job
Out of this study with developed a learning brief which targets any service providers who interact with vulnerable women and children, especially those service providers who work with pregnant women. Such services providers can arise from nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) or civil society organisations and may be healthcare providers or social service providers.
Find this and more on our resources for professionals pages.
While perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMAD) have a global footprint, the majority of research related to this group of illnesses has come largely from more affluent, Westernized countries. Similarly, the tools used to detect and screen for PMADs were developed and tested in these Westernized countries.
The instrument most commonly used to detect PMADs is the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS), which was originally developed in Great Britain. While it has been translated into many different languages and used in many different countries, it is unclear if these translated versions of the EPDS accurately identify PMAD in disparate, non-English speaking countries. Specifically there has been concern that simply translating the EPDS may not fully capture the cultural determinants of mood and anxiety disorders.
Particularly vulnerable to mental health problems are the women who are pregnant or have recently given birth living in resource-constrained, low- and lower-middle-income countries (LALMICs) as defined by the World Bank. A recent systematic review appraised formally validated local language versions of the EPDS used in resource-constrained settings (Shrestha et al., 2016).
Mental health care in South Africa has been chronically underfunded for many years, which is reflected in inadequate care in primary clinics, community residential care facilities and acute mental health units in district and national hospitals, says Professor Crick Lund.
Lund, director of the Alan J Flisher Centre for Public Mental Health (CPMH) in UCT’s Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health, issued a statement in the wake of the Health Ombudsman Professor Malegapuru Makgoba’s report into the deaths of more than 94 mentally ill patients from Life Esidimeni in Gauteng.
Health Ombudsman Prof Malegapuru Makgoba’s report into the deaths of more than 94 mentally ill patients from Life Esidimeni in Gauteng elicited an outcry when it was released this week
In our last newsletter of the year we’ve thanked you, our supporters, families and friends who believed in the work we do and supported us throughout 2016.
With your donation of expertise and money we were able to care for mothers in need and engage with those providing health and social support for them.
Enjoy this festive season and we are looking forward to an even more exciting 2017 with you!
In this newsletter we are highlighting some of the achievements of the previous two months. Happy reading.
What is empathic engagement and why is it important?
Empathy is the ability to perceive the meaning and feelings of another person and to be able to communicate these to that person. Empathy is a core aspect of building relationships and positive client interaction. When care workers engage empathically with clients, clients feel empowered, service uptake is improved and clients are more likely to adhere to recommended interventions and treatment regimens. There are also benefits for the care workers who report less burnout and enhanced work satisfaction.
Studies have shown that empathic engagement does not necessarily take up more time, is not emotionally exhausting like being sympathetic, and does not overburden the care worker, as the client maintains responsibility for their own problems. In addition, this type of communication can actually save time, effort and expense as the relevant client issues are more quickly identified resulting in early and more effective management.
Building up to empathic skills: learning about maternal mental health
Stigma, related to a lack of understanding and negative stereotyping of those with mental illness, is a significant factor in communities and among care workers. We attempt to reduce this stigma through the provision of background information about maternal mental illness and related medical and social problems. We encourage participants to work in small groups, engage with, discuss and apply our training material in a way which is relevant to their unique situations and work environment.
We noted a gap between the perceived ability and actual ability of workshop participants to engage empathically. Most participants struggle to “listen” and accept the client’s perspective without judgment. Instead, they very quickly assume they understand the problem and revert to “telling” and “fixing” based on their own perspective and experience.
Read more on how to develop a meaningful training, how to support trainers and how to evaluate the training process in our Learning Brief
#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.
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).
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.
Depression during and after pregnancy is affecting up to one in five women globally.
Previous studies from around the world suggest that depression during and after pregnancy affects the bonding between mother and child and can have direct implications for infant survival and early childhood development.
In this new review, the authors focused mainly on low and middle income countries and are calling for urgent interventions for mothers and children.
There is a substantial lack of research specific to women in poorer countries, where interventions such as cognitive behavioural therapy may not be available
– Prof Vivette Glover, Imperial College London
Previously, research into perinatal depression has focused on high income countries. But current studies suggest that the problem is more common in low- and middle-income countries, some even suggest that up to 50% of women living in adversity are experiencing depression during or after pregnancy.
Therefor more resources are needed to support expectant and new mothers. Urgent investment is needed in research and the development of appropriate low cost interventions that are specific to these areas.