Access & Inclusion: why community mental health services are important

SAFMH News Room

Community services play a crucial role in promoting mental health awareness, reducing stigma and discrimination, supporting recovery and social inclusion, and preventing mental disorders.” –Indlela Mental Health

Access to equitable and efficient mental health care remains a challenge for many people in South Africa, including people with psychosocial disabilities. Community mental health organisations across South Africa are working to combat this by providing rights-based, culturally sensitive and cost-effective mental health interventions.

Psychosocial Disability Awareness Month (PDAM) is celebrated annually in July. This year (July 2024), the SA Federation for Mental Health (SAFMH) will be focusing on the theme “Access and inclusion: why community mental health is important”, highlighting the important role community mental health organisations play in ensuring access and inclusion for people with psychosocial disabilities.

Community based mental health organisations provide services outside of institutional settings, as near as possible to the places where people live and work or study (National Department of Health, 2023). These services should be informed by a person-centered recovery model, with an emphasis on psychosocial rehabilitation and promoting overall wellbeing (World Health Organisation, 2021).

Examples of this include: Indlela Mental Health’s  Resilience through Initiatives of Support and Education (RISE) programme, aimed at preventing teen suicide through school-based, peer-run interventions at schools

  • Zululand Mental Health’s Siyazenzela programme, which uses gardening and agriculture to improve economic opportunities and financial independence for people with psychosocial disabilities
  • Central Gauteng Mental Health’s Outreach programme that provides people living in informal settlements with factual, culturally sensitive and relevant mental health service information and educational resources.

To learn more about any of the above programmes, please see the PDAM 2024 Concept Note.

In support of PDAM 2024, SAFMH will be highlighting the necessary and effective work of our Mental Health Societies and other community-based mental health organisations. It is our hope that this year’s PDAM campaign will see more people understand community mental health and its significance in achieving mental wellbeing for all in South Africa.

For media enquiries through the month, please contact:

Michel’le Donnelly – Project Leader: Advocacy & Awareness

CELL: +27 (0)79 799 6533

EMAIL: michel’

Subscribe to Our Newsletter


COVID-19 Corona Virus South African Resource Portal

Please visit the COVID-19 Corona Virus South African Resource Portal at Alternatively contact the Emergency Hotline: 0800 029 999 or the WhatsApp Support Line: 0600 123456