According to community worker Sharon Brink, there is a big mental health problem in Ocean View, Cape Town, owing to the abuse of drugs and alcohol which is prevalent in the area. “And when it comes to the mental health facilities, we are so far,” she says.
Johann Kikillus a director of the NGO Soteria agrees, but also adds the effects of gangsterism as a factor. “And the children are exposed to this, and it’s never really dealt with,” he says. “Last year, we had over 40 murders, and by April [this year], I think we had about a dozen.
“This trauma leads to depression. I’ve dealt with a lot of attempted suicides, children who cut themselves, and start binging on alcohol and drugs. And by the age of 20, we are finding more and more young people battling with post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder.”
Watch as Brink, Kikillus and other members of the community of Ocean View explain how difficult it is for young people in the area to access public mental health facilities.
After seeing how little help there is available outside of the work of local NGOs, we contacted the spokesperson for the Western Cape Provincial Department of Health, Zimkitha Mqutheni with questions about plans to address the situation in Ocean View and surrounding areas, but we have received no reply.
Young people all over South Africa deserve access to adequate public mental health facilities and treatment. Join the conversation as we ask these questions of the Gauteng Provincial Government on the May 20 from 11.00am to 1.00pm in Braamfontein, Johannesburg by following @ProjectDemoZA and #MentalHealthZA on Twitter.
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