The new mental healthcare centre at Mediclinic Legae is the first specialist unit to provide mental healthcare treatments for communities in Mabopane, Soshanguve and Ga-Rankuwa.
Mediclinic is extending the range of services it offers to cover everything from basic to more specialised care, and this includes mental health services, says Dewald de Lange, Mediclinic’s General Manager: Mental Health Services. “In every aspect of medical care, we want Mediclinic to be the first name that comes to mind,” he explains.
“Post-COVID-19, we began to see many more patients struggling with mental health issues. Social, economic and financial pressures were exacerbated during the pandemic. The number of COVID-19 cases has eased, but the pressures in these communities have not and more of our patients need mental health support.”
Growing need for treatment
Mediclinic has six mental health service facilities in South Africa; Mediclinic George, Mediclinic Welkom, and Mediclinic Newcastle are all large facilities with practising psychiatrists who admit patients to the hospitals. New additions to our mental health services include Mediclinic Crescent Mental Health Services in Cape Town, Mediclinic Denmar Mental Health Services in Pretoria, and most recently, Mediclinic Legae.
All communities in South Africa need effective mental healthcare treatment, says Dr Thabo Mogotlane, a psychiatrist at Mediclinic Legae’s new mental healthcare centre. But the services offered by the unit, which services Mabopane, Soshanguve and Ga-Rankuwa, are especially vital given the social conditions in these communities.
Dr Mogotlane says mental illness is especially prevalent in impoverished communities, like those in the unit’s catchment area. This is understandable since crime tends to be higher in areas where poverty and unemployment are rife. As a result, there may be a higher prevalence of people suffering post-traumatic stress, for example. Substance addiction is also common in such areas.
“In fact, mental illness goes hand in hand with poverty,” Dr Mogotlane adds. “Poverty exacerbates any mental illness, like depression or anxiety, while these conditions often push people into poverty. Depressed people may find it difficult to hold down a job, for example.”
New mental health services
Until now there has been no mental health facility in the area to service this community and patients have had to travel to a mental healthcare centre elsewhere to receive appropriate treatment. Now patients can receive the best possible treatment in their own neighbourhood.
The new Mediclinic Legae Mental Health Services unit has gathered a multidisciplinary team comprising psychiatrists, psychotherapists, physiotherapists, nurses, dietitians, and occupational therapists. The team includes social workers who work with patients’ families to help them integrate into the community after treatment and reduce the risk of a relapse.
“Each member of the team has a vital role, and we all work together very closely,” says Dr Mogotlane. “For example, our occupational therapists and psychologists assess patients to determine whether they can cope with the demands of a work or family environment. Similarly, our psychiatrists collaborate with psychologists, because medication alone is effective for around 45% of patients, whereas the success rate is more than 80% when combined with psychotherapy.”
De Lange adds that Mediclinic aims to organically grow its mental health footprint to provide a logical referral network that supports our acute-care hospital framework, as an integral part of the continuum of care. “Ultimately, we want a specialist mental health facility relatively close to all our existing hospitals. We can then ensure optimal treatment and improved care pathways for our patients,” he says.
“We are working on establishing the Mediclinic Mental Health Services brand in the industry. We’re developing care pathways between our acute and mental health facilities to support patients and standardise our service offering across all facilities. Mediclinic is not aiming to have the most mental health beds in the industry, but rather to offer high-quality care environments with proven patient outcomes.”
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