Blog Archives

Mental health and new care models – The King’s Fund lessons from the vanguards

Emerging evidence suggests that integrated approaches to mental health can help to support improved performance across the wider health system.

Key findings

  • Knowledge and skills around psychology and mental health are important features of integrated care, whatever the client group.
  • Despite this, the level of priority given to mental health in the development of new models of care has not always been sufficiently high.
  • Some areas report that new models of care have made it easier for local professionals to obtain informal advice from mental health professionals without making a referral, creating a more seamless experience for patients.
  • Working closely with voluntary sector organisations has allowed integrated care teams in some vanguard sites to better support the mental health and wellbeing of people with complex needs.

Policy implications

  • Testing the mental health components of existing vanguard sites must be a central part of the evaluation strategy for the new care models.
  • Other local areas rolling out multispecialty community providers, primary and acute care systems and related care models should go further than the vanguard sites in four key areas:
    • complex needs: enabling local integrated care teams to draw on and incorporate mental health expertise to support people with complex care needs
    • long-term care: equipping primary care teams to address the wide range of mental health needs in general practice (including among people presenting primarily with physical symptoms)
    • urgent care: strengthening mental health support for people using A&E departments and other forms of emergency care
    • whole-population health: placing greater emphasis on promoting positive mental wellbeing in the population, in particular among children and young people, and during and after pregnancy.
  • All sustainability and transformation plans should set out ambitious but credible plans for improving mental health and integrating mental health into new models of care.

Source: The King’s Fund


Poverty and mental disorders: breaking the cycle in low- and middle-income countries

Mental ill-health and poverty are closely linked and interact in complex negative cycles

“What interventions are needed to break the cycle of poverty and mental ill health?”

Growing international evidence shows that mental ill health and poverty interact in a negative cycle in low-income and middle-income countries. However, little is known about the interventions that are needed to break this cycle.

The vicious cycle of poverty and mental ill-health Social Selection or Social Drift theory: People with mental illnesses are at increased risk of drifting into or remaining in poverty through increased health expenditure, reduced productivity, stigma, loss of employment and associated earnings.

A UN General Assembly Declaration (A/RES/65/L.27 2010) on global health and foreign policy welcomed the WHO report, and recognized that mental health problems have “huge social and economic costs.” There is growing international evidence that mental ill health and poverty interact in a negative cycle in low-income and middle-income countries.

This cycle increases the risk of mental illness among people who live in poverty, and increases the likelihood that those living with mental illness will drift into or remain in poverty.

Mental health interventions can be associated with improved economic outcomes.

 Mental Health interventions can have positive effects on economic status – some poverty alleviation interventions, such as conditional cash transfers and asset promotion programmes, can have mental health benefits.

Read more in this Policy Brief or the full text in The Lancet

Related Publications: Integration of mental health into primary care in low- and middle-income countries (PRIME)

Mental health, Poverty & Development (WHO)

Source: PRIME policy brief #1 

Inspiring African innovations: Perinatal Mental Health Project, South Africa [#WHD2017 Africa Blog Series]

This blog is part of our series celebrating World Health Day 2017. This year’s theme is Depression: Let’s Talk and we’re showcasing inspiring innovations addressing depression across Africa.

Source: [#WHD2017 Africa Blog Series] Inspiring African innovations: Perinatal Mental Health Project, South Africa | Mental Health Innovation Network

Caring for the Carers – Do you have a support system – someone to talk to?

This week’s #DignityInMind blog, written by LifeLine WC’s Chairperson, addresses how mental health carers should look after themselves as well.

Are you able to ask for help?

Do you have a support system – someone to talk to?

Are you aware of your stress levels and do you manage them adequately?

Many of us in the caring industry as well as individuals who care for a family member or friend struggling with mental health will have answered ‘no’ to at least one of the above questions and it is probably for this reason that caregivers are at high risk for compassion fatigue and burnout. One of the main reasons for this is that we are most likely innate rescuers. We spend our lives throwing out lifelines, helping, healing and making a difference but often ignore the impact that all of this has on our own lives. Enter burnout.

Source: Caring for the Carers – World Mental Health Month

Do you have what it takes?

We are looking for a new research officer to join our team.

‘The Perinatal Mental Health Project (PMHP) requires the services of a Research Officer/Senior Research Officer (SRO). This is a full time post for a one-year contract with appointment starting as soon as possible.

The appointee will be based at the PMHP offices on UCT’s Sawkins Road campus in Cape Town, but may need to travel locally and nationally.’

If you are interested or know somebody who might be a perfect fit for us, please see the job description or share the advert!

“When I first became a mother, I didn’t know about depression. Now I would like to let everyone know about this problem.”

Recently, celebrities like Hayden Panettiere and Drew Barrymore opened up about their struggles with postpartum depression. Some of the moms who are featured in the articles below, have also shared their postpartum depression with the world, despite a cultural stigma against discussing motherhood in less-than-glowing terms.

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For this blog, we collated some outstanding stories, studies and guides for everyone who is, was or know someone who might be struggling with depression or anxiety during or after pregnancy.

We recommend you read these fantastic articles and blogs – postpartum moms open up:


Useful material for care givers, nurses and health workers:


Related recent research:


The Perinatal Mental Health Project in South Africa addresses the crisis of mental illness related to pregnancy among women living in adversity.

We are an independent initiative based at the University of Cape Town, located within the CPMH. The PMHP actively addresses the challenges associated with gender based violence, teen pregnancy, HIV, substance misuse, refugee status and early childhood development through its clinical engagement with vulnerable women and their families, through training of staff that interact with these women, through research projects and advocacy work.

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