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Welfare Reform on the Web (October 2009): Mental health services - overseas

Mental health policy in South Africa: development process and content

C.E. Draper and others

Health Policy and Planning, vol. 24, 2009, p. 342-356

Mental health has a low priority on South Africa's public health agenda, in spite of the burden attributable to mental disorder. South Africa's 1997 mental health policy guidelines, despite some strengths in their content, have a number of crucial procedural flaws. Poor dissemination and lack of clarity around the status of these guidelines as national policy has led to limited uptake at provincial level. The findings highlight the importance of national leadership in the development of new mental health policy, and of communication between national and provincial levels. They also emphasise the need for provincial structures to take responsibility for implementation, and capacity for building to enable policymakers and planners to develop, monitor and implement policy.

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