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You are currently browsing the UNAMO blog archives for December, 2015.


Archive for December, 2015

Posted by Admin, December 16, 2015 3:45 pm

Chinese are a minority in South Africa

Chinese marched on the Cleveland Police Station

Chinese marched on the Cleveland Police Station

Carrying placards in both Chinese and English‚ some of the marchers walked from the site of the murder and rape on St Frusquin Street to the police station.

The memorandum that was handed to the station commander called for the swift arrest of the criminals involved.

The community also announced a reward of R100000 for information that might lead to the arrest of the killers.

Speaking outside the police station‚ the chairman of the Chinese CPF‚ Ng Sui Hong‚ said that this year 17 Chinese had been murdered.

“The Chinese are investing billions in South Africa‚ if it carries on like this‚ it will destabilise the economy‚” said Hong.

In the last 10 years‚ 300 Chinese had lost their lives in Gauteng and the Western Cape‚ he added.

“But this crime is the needle that has broken the camel’s back‚” he said.

One of the marchers‚ Malvern resident Connie Welcome‚ said that over the last four months violent crime had increased in her suburb. There had been hijackings‚ house robberies and stabbings in the street.

Police have yet to make an arrest.

– TMG Digital/The Times

Posted by admin, December 10, 2015 6:35 pm

Tied to a tree. Source unknown.  ~As mental illness remains shrouded in stigma, real questions remain about where South Africa is in the fight for better mental health .

In some corners of South Africa, those living with mental disorders are still tied to trees and denied food by the very people meant to protect them – their families.

Charlene Sunkel was 19 years old when she was first diagnosed with schizophrenia but says it took her nine years before she got the right medication. Before she found medication that worked for her, Sunkel said she suffered adverse side effects and was admitted to hospital. She says being admitted to hospital was a wake up call.

Now, Sunkel has devoted her life to advocating for people living with mental disorders. As the advocacy and development programme manager for the South Africa Federation for Mental Health, Sunkel recently conducted community workshops in the Northern Cape to educate patients and families.

Community health workers based at the Lehnoloholo Adams Clinic in Douglas, Northern Cape have said that many families in the rural areas in which they work continue to mistakenly believe mental illness is a curse.

In a small study conducted among about 80 people living with mental illness in the the North West, the international academic consortium Programme for Improving Mental Health Care (PRIME) found that patients reported being denied food, tied to trees and being forced to work without pay because of their mental illness by family and community members.

Read: Call to stop shaming mental illnesses

But families have a crucial role to play in supporting those living with mental health issues, cautions Sunkel who added that not only support but living a healthy lifestyle have helped her adhere to her daily treatment.

Sunkel is also part of the recently created Rural Mental Health Campaign, which released a reportin October detailing the challenges rural mental health patients face, including stigma.

“I feel ashamed of my diagnosis and the severity of it,” said a North West patient named Jill who asked not to be identified in the report. “People see mentally ill people as being mad and (as people who) should be locked away in an institution”.

According to Sunkel, stigma remains a leading barrier to care.

“Statistics indicates that 75 percent of people who experience symptoms of mental disorders do not access mental health care services,” she wrote in a commentary for the report. “This is not necessarily because services are not available… people avoid seeking help because they fear being stigmatised and being discriminated against.”

No one knows how many South Africans are living with a mental disorders but the county’s only nationally representative survey completed on 2004 on found that about 17 percent of those surveyed had experienced a mood, anxiety or substance use disorder in the previous year.

In 2013, South Africa adopted its first officially endorsed national policy for mental health. Attending the South African Federation for Mental Health’s recent workshop in Douglas, National Department of Health Deputy Director for Mental Health and Substance Abuse Dudu Shiba said she welcomed similar initiatives that not only empowered people living with mental illness but also educated people on the national policy.

However at a recent Johannesburg meeting of the Campaign, Sunkel noted that two years since the national policy was adopted, little is publicly known about what has been done to implement it in provinces around the country.

“There’s inconsistencies across provinces in how they are monitoring the implementation of the strategy,” said Garret Barnwell, a clinical psychologist with the campaign. “There’s still a lot to be done in regards to reporting and there’s not a lot of feedback to the public.”

The campaign has recommended not only better tracking of policy implementation but also the integration of mental health services at the primary health care level and within HIV services. – Health-e News.

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