n African Journal of Psychiatry - A milestone for mental health in South Africa : guest editorial

Volume 15, Issue 6
  • ISSN : 1994-8220



The importance of mental health globally was recognised as far back as 1946 when the World Health Organization defined health as: "a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity". This definition is as pertinent now as it was in 1946 and the dictum that "there can be no health without mental health" is even now gaining momentum internationally. The burden of mental illness is felt not only through the primary presentation of mental disorders, but also through its high co-morbidity with other illnesses. Evidence has also shown that poor mental health is not just an individual or personal issue but one that both shapes development and is shaped by social and economic forces. Mental health is fundamental to the achievement of a number of the Millennium Development Goals including eradicating poverty, reducing child mortality, improving maternal health, achieving universal primary education and combating HIV and AIDS, malaria and other diseases.

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