Mental Health Matters is published five times a year with the objective of bringing information and support to South Africa’s GP’s in their role as first line care givers and identifiers of mental health issues.


By C Lund


In April 2012, the Minister of Health Dr Aaron Motsoaledi convened the first national mental health summit. It was an historic event for South Africa, attended by over 400 mental health stakeholders from around the country. The summit was the culmination of an extensive consultation and research process, which included over 4,000 stakeholders in provincial summits, and a national mental health situational analysis.

Hospitalisation is an expensive exercise and comes with significant disruption to the lives of patients and their families. The decision to admit a patient should therefore be a carefully considered one and the benefit of the admission
must justify the overall cost. There has been an exponential increase in the number of patients admitted to hospital for psychiatric reasons in recent years. The number of institutions providing psychiatric care has mushroomed as has the number of mental health professionals. There still exists a chronic shortage of beds and the inappropriate “soft” admissions contribute to this.

H Nowbath

Major depressive disorder has many possible faces. It can be mild and easy to treat, or be very severe and resistant to treatment with devastating consequences such as job losses, broken families, and even death by suicide. It can be a once-off event limited to the occurrence of a single depressive episode or, as is more often the case, be characterised by multiple recurrent depressive episodes at different times.

By E Pak

In the previous article we asked: Where are the children? The answer – in the morass of stress in our country, our world. We found them right there with us in the centre. They are distressed children and the incidence of anxiety in these children is increasing rapidly. There is a growing awareness in both professional and public arenas of a large number of anxious children in our country and the next question is ‘Where to from here’?

By H Clark

“One of the first things patients say to me when I prescribe psychiatric medications is ‘Will I put on weight – if so I’d rather not go on them,’ explains psychiatrist and clinical psychologist Dr Frans Korb. “The answer is simple, some do and others not so much. But I do feel if patients are aware of this from the outset, knowing there’s a possibility they may put on weight, they can at least do something about it.”

By F Korb

The WHO defines epilepsy as a chronic disorder of the brain characterised by recurrent seizures, which are brief episodes of involuntary movements that may involve a part of the body (partial) or the entire body (generalised). Seizures are at times accompanied by a loss of consciousness and control of bowel or bladder function.

By L Lumu

ADHD refers to Attention Deficit Disorder with or without Hyperactivity. This article gives a broad approach to what can be done for children with ADHD before commencing Ritalin or any other related medication. Bear in mind there is a definite place for medication in the treatment of ADHD, and it has helped many children through a crisis. However, there is a lot more that can be done to help before commencing the drug route. Genetic and environmental factors are some of the factors to be considered.

There is something that crosses all our paths at some point and in some way,
regardless of race, religion, gender or age. Every human in the history of our world has thought about the one thing that none of us can escape, and that is death. However, most of us find this thought disturbing, preferring to avoid pondering about it too much. This is not without good reason though; the very idea of death brings instinctive resistance and strikes fear into our hearts.

By L Taljaard

Not a day goes by in my practice without a patient complaining about their weight gain. So often the antidepressants are blamed. The simple explanation is that weight is a straightforward mathematical calculation: you gain weight if you consume more kilojoules than you burn. But is it really so simple?

By R Schoeman

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is one of the least understood Mental
Disorders, due to the pervasive and persistent interpersonal problems that these
individuals experience. The following is a typical case study shared by author Sam Vaknin (Vaknin, 2015).

By V Kotton

The nature of interactions between patients and their pharmacists is very different from the relationship a patient has with his/her doctor. In a community pharmacy, consumers may approach the pharmacist directly about many aspects of health, including nutritional supplements, minor self-limiting ailments and conditions for which they need to consult a medical practitioner. The relationship is often initially more casual than a formal consultation in a consulting room. While the pharmacist is preparing a prescription, there should be consultation on the prescription and the condition which it is intended to treat, but pharmacist and patient may also engage in casual conversation about family matters.

By L Osman

I have a busy mind… often feels like it’s on overdrive. This, together with my perfectionist-like tendencies, can leave me mentally preoccupied, rushed, anxious and eventually, drained. But when I step onto my yoga mat, I experience a slowing down of sorts. I pay attention to and am gentler on my body instead of using it mechanically; I purposefully breathe deeper and slower, balancing the in and out breaths; I am focused on the physical alignment instructions paired with each breath, allowing my thoughts to recede into the background. It‘s a calmer me who walks out of each class, feeling my lungs fill with air, my body move with greater fluidity, my emotions even out, my mind become still.

By D Tzoneva

An Australian study has found lithium to be better at protecting the brains of bipolar patients than that of a newer and more popular antipsychotic drug.

By M Berk

Let us first define what Autism is. It is a neurological disorder, that impacts on two main characteristics amongst others which are Social Interaction and Communication.


By T Makapela

Zane Wilson Founder SADAG

  • Neil Amoore,
  • Psychologist, Johannesburg
  • Kevin Bolon,
  • Psychologist, Johannesburg
  • Dr Jan Chabalala,
  • Psychiatrist, Johannesburg
  • Dr Lori Eddy,
  • Psychologist, Johannesburg
  • Lee-Ann Hartman,
  • Psychologist, Johannesburg
  • Dr Frans Korb,
  • Psychiatrist/Psychologist, Johannesburg
  • Professor Crick Lund,
  • Psychiatrist, Cape Town
  • Dr Rykie Liebenberg,
  • Psychiatrist, Johannesburg
  • Dr Colinda Linde,
  • Psychologist, Johannesburg
  • Zamo Mbele,
  • Psychologist, Johannesburg
  • Nkini Phasha,
  • SADAG Director, Johannesburg
  • David Rosenstein,
  • Psychologist, Cape Town
  • Professor Dan Stein,
  • Psychiatrist, Cape Town
  • Professor Bernard van Rensburg,
  • Johannesburg
  • Dr Sheldon Zilesnick,
  • Psychiatrist, Johannesburg