Research Articles

Common mental disorders are not diagnosed commonly in community health centres

Tsepo S. Motsohi, A. A. Isaacs, N. Manga, C. Le Grange, M. Roelofse, P. Milligan, D. A. Hellenberg, A. R. Sayed
South African Family Practice | Vol 57, No 4 : July/August| a4076 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/safp.v57i4.4076 | ©
Submitted: 26 April 2014 | Published: 01 July 2015

About the author(s)

Tsepo S. Motsohi, Division of Family Medicine, School of Public Health, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa
A. A. Isaacs, Faculty of Health Sciences, Division of Family Medicine, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa
N. Manga, Faculty of Health Sciences, Division of Family Medicine, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa
C. Le Grange, Faculty of Health Sciences, Division of Family Medicine, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa
M. Roelofse, Faculty of Health Sciences, Division of Family Medicine, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa
P. Milligan, Head Clinical Unit, Acute Services, Valkenberg Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa; and Faculty of Health Sciences, Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health, Division of Family Medicine, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa
D. A. Hellenberg, Faculty of Health Sciences, Division of Family Medicine, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa
A. R. Sayed, Metro District Health Services, Cape Town, South Africa

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Abstract

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

Methods: 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.

Results: 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.

Conclusion: 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.


Keywords

co-morbidity; costs; mental health; non-communicable diseases; prescriptions; primary health care

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