Who we are

The South African Federation for Mental Health (SAFMH) is a national non-governmental organisation and was founded in 1920, originally called The South African National Council for Mental Hygiene and the Care of the Feeble-Minded. Through the years it has changed its name a number of times, eventually settling on the South African Federation for Mental Health in 1990. Since its humble beginnings, SAFMH has played an important role as an advocacy body, promoting community mental health care and deinstitutionalisation and advocating for the rights of persons with psychosocial and intellectual disabilities.

Today, SAFMH is the largest national mental health federation in South Africa, with the national office situated in Johannesburg, and 17 constituent bodies [known as Mental Health Societies] located in all nine provinces.

While SAFMH works at a strategic level with government and other national and international mental health stakeholders and partners to raise awareness of mental health and human rights and to advocate for improved resourcing of mental health, the Mental Health Societies are independent, community-based mental health organisations who deliver essential frontline mental health services to communities that are often under-resourced.

SAFMH is a mental health-focused, human rights organisation, with a 100-year track record of advocacy in South Africa. SAFMH is a South African-based non-profit organisation. We believe access to quality mental health care is a human right and strive to make this happen through our advocacy and awareness.

Our vision

The Federation’s vision is “to be a dynamic movement, which serves as an effective resource to empower people to attain optimal mental well-being and quality of life in a just society”.

Its management is responsive and based on participation, mutual trust and respect.

Our mission

The main objective and central mission of the organisation is: “to work with the community to achieve the highest possible level of mental health for all”. SAFMH stands firmly on a number of pillars:

SAFMH stands firmly on several pillars:

For more information
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