PRESS RELEASE – 9 OCTOBER 2001 FOR MENTAL HEALTH DAY OR NATIONAL PSYCHIATRY DAY ON 10 OCTOBER 2001
Currently stigmatation and discrimination of patients with psychiatric disorders needs to be addressed and perceptions of people changed.
Psychiatric disorders represent 10% of all diseases worldwide, just second to cancer and cardiac problems. It is thus estimated that between 4½ to 5 million people in SA suffer from a psychiatric disorder. The extent of the problem is large. Apart from the human suffering, a major number of working days and productivity in South Africa are lost. In Britain 91 million working days are lost due to mental health problems. If alcohol and drug abuse is calculated into this figure (of mental disorders) the estimate is that 1 in 3 people in the world and in South Africa, is suffering from a mental disorder, about 15 million people in South Africa at any given time. 25% of the population will eventually have suffered from a depressive disorder. Your chances of developing an anxiety disorder is 1 in 10 and an eating disorder probably 1 in 50. 50% of visits to General Practitioners are usually due to some sort of mental problem. Worldwide only an estimated 10 to 15% of people with mental disorders seek help, which places a huge burden on the state for untreated psychiatric problems. The World Health Organisation predicts that by the year 2020 depression as a single disease will be the number 2 disorder, causing disability and death in the world. The World Bank predicts depression to be the number 1 disease by 2020. This figure is alarming as we need to start addressing the problem of prevention and treatment of psychiatric disorders.
In SA about 10 000 people commit suicide yearly and most of those are young people within their economically active lives.
An estimated 20% of children suffer from a mental illness due to the levels of violence and family problems we have in this country.
The South African Society of Psychiatrists together with The Depression and Anxiety Support Group, The Schizophrenia Foundation, The Federation of Mental Health, The Mental Health Information Centre, The Department of Health, Support Groups, NGO’s and other interested parties want to support National Psychiatry Day as part of National and International Mental Health Day to make people aware of psychiatric disorders in this country to help people de-stigmatise mental illness and seek help / treatment early. We also support an environment that will be conducive to the prevention of mental illness.