In collaboration with the University of Cape Town and the National Department of Health, SAFMH conducted a qualitative research study evaluating the implementation of a national advocacy programme for mental health care users between 2015 and 2018. Facilitators for establishing these advocacy groups included conducting empowerment sessions and identifying ‘mental health champions’ at clinics, improving mental health training for health workers, dispensing psychiatric medication to patients on the same day, providing funding for non-governmental organisations, conducting national awareness campaigns, and establishing holistic rehabilitation centres for care users. Barriers to establishing and conducting advocacy groups included a lack of follow-up support, pervasive stigma from communities and health care workers, low self-confidence, and a lack of financial resources.
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