EDITORIAL | New mental health facility welcome

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Having a loved one who is mentally ill or suffering from depression, anxiety or addiction can be a difficult road to walk, but even more so when the associated state and/or private healthcare support is severely stretched or just not available.
An increase in mental health conditions such as addiction, drug-induced mania, depression and anxiety has been noted in the Bay in recent years, and is reflective of a universal trend.
Many are finding it increasingly difficult to cope with the pressures of modern life.
Stress from financial worry and/or unemployment has also been singled out as an additional contributing factor in the Eastern Cape.
Sufferers may find release in alcohol and/or drugs, often with lasting consequences.
Previously, even those with medical aid had to make use of already heavily overburdened state facilities when it came to admitting a loved one for psychological intervention.
It does not help that the mental health component of the Eastern Cape department of health has been under administration since December 2018.
Hunterscraig, one of the Bay’s most established short-term mental healthcare facilities, has seen patient needs increase first-hand and that is why the announcement of its new assisted admissions and seclusion ward – the first such private facility in the province – must be welcomed.
The new ward with its 10 beds and additional isolation room signals an important investment in private mental health services in the city and province, and, once operational, will help take some of the strain off state facilities.
It will also see the creation of six new positions for nursing and other staff.
In addition it will relieve the pressure on families who, besides having to navigate the legal system for a loved one in need of mental health care, would up to now also have had to navigate the state health system.
A multi-million-rand investment of this nature further sends an important message that treatment of the psyche is every bit as important as the treatment of the physical body.

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