n South African Medical Journal - A new mental health policy for South Africa : editorial

Volume 104, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0256-9574
  • E-ISSN: 2078-5135



Worldwide there has been a growing awareness of the disability, suffering and economic costs associated with mental disorders, and of the availability of cost-efficient treatments. A range of authors, as well as key institutions such as the World Health Organization (WHO), have played an important role in producing data and reports which emphasise these points. After an extensive consultative process, in May 2013, a further step forwards was taken when the World Health Assembly adopted the Comprehensive Mental Health Action Plan 2013 - 2020, committing all United Nations member states to take specified actions to help reach agreed targets. Four key objectives are: 'to strengthen effective leadership and governance for mental health; provide comprehensive, integrated and responsive mental health and social care services in community-based settings; implement strategies for promotion and prevention in mental health; and strengthen information systems, evidence and research for mental health'.

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