oa South African Family Practice - Common mental disorders are not diagnosed commonly in community health centres : research

Volume 57, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 2078-6190
  • E-ISSN: 2078-6204



Very limited published data exist on the spectrum of mental health disorders encountered at primary health care (PHC) facilities in South Africa.

The original data from a recent study were analysed with regard to its useful set of data on patients with mental disorders in primary care clinics in Cape Town.
Schizophrenia and bipolar disorder accounted for the majority of visits, with common mental disorders (depression, anxiety disorders, substance use disorders) accounting for only a minority of visits. Furthermore, the mental health population in the study had significantly fewer chronic disease co-morbidities than the non-mental health patients.
There is an urgent need to screen better for common mental disorders in primary care patients in South Africa, and to screen for chronic medical diseases in patients with serious mental illness.

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