Press Release: Rural Mental Health Campaign calls on action by SAHRC Investigation and sustained action needed

Press Release: Rural Mental Health Campaign calls on action by SAHRC Investigation and sustained action needed

Today the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) starts its national hearing on the status of mental health care in South Africa.

The Rural Mental Health Campaign (RMHC) welcomes this much-needed step to access and improve mental healthcare access in South Africa and will be presenting its research and recommendations to the panel.

In 2015 the RMHC published a report detailing the struggles of those in our country’s rural areas to access quality and sustained mental health care. The report details many challenges confronting the rural mental healthcare sector and specifically notes that although rural areas account for almost half the country’s populations, they continue to remain at the margin and periphery of political, economic and social centres of power.

During its presentation to the SAHRC, the RMHC will make recommendations for addressing this and other challenges specified in its report and emerging from its ongoing research.

As the RMHC we urge the South African Human Rights Commission to use this opportunity to investigate the needs of all mental healthcare users in our country, rural as well as urban. Unless rural healthcare services are strengthened alongside their urban counterparts, human rights abuses towards people living with mental illness will continue, unseen and unchecked, across South Africa.

You can view a PDF version of the RMHC’s submission to the SAHRC hearings here: Submission-to-the-SAHRC-by-the-Rural-Mental-Health-Campaign

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For queries or interviews, please contact Shannon Morgan or Mafoko Phomane at mafoko@rhap.org.za or ruralrehabsa@gmail.com.

The Rural Mental Health Campaign was started in 2014 by a group of organisations at the Rural Health Conference in Worcester who were deeply concerned about the lack of progress made in the implementation of the National Mental Health Policy Framework. The group is led by Shannon Morgan.

The RMHC committee consists of:

Shannon Morgan (Chairperson) – Rural Rehab South Africa (RuReSa)
Mafoko Phomane – Rural Health Advocacy Project (RHAP)
Ingrid Daniels – Cape Mental Health (CMH)
Charlene Sunkel – South African Federation for Mental Health (SAFMH)
Kate Sherry – RuReSa
Meba Alphonse Kanda – Rural Doctors Association of South Africa (RuDASA)
Richard Vergust (psychologist)
Maggie Marx (campaign communications)