Centenary of the UCT Faculty of Health Sciences

No health without mental health: Establishing psychiatry as a major discipline in an African Faculty of Health Sciences

Lynn Gillis, Brian A Robertson, Tuviah Zabow, Dan J Stein

Abstract


Psychiatry has not always been a major clinical discipline in medical schools. Although the Faculty of Health Sciences of the University of Cape Town (UCT) celebrates its Centenary in 2012, a closely aligned major psychiatric hospital is older than the Medical School, while the Department of Psychiatry is only 50 years old. These differing dates reflect the history of and challenge for psychiatry; mental disorders contribute a major portion of the burden of disease, while appropriate recognition and resourcing of services and training has been delayed. There are ongoing challenges in aligning the visions of an old state-run system that focused on those with severe psychotic illness, a newer governmental vision of the importance of treating mental disorders in the community, the realities of current under-resourcing, and the international aspiration that psychiatry is one of the clinical neurosciences. Nevertheless, considerable strides have been made towards moving psychiatry from the periphery of society and medicine to a central discipline within the Faculty of Health Sciences at UCT.

Authors' affiliations

Lynn Gillis, Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health, University of Cape Town

Brian A Robertson, Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health, University of Cape Town

Tuviah Zabow, Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health, University of Cape Town

Dan J Stein, Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health, University of Cape Town

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Keywords

Psychiatry; Mental Health; South Africa

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2012;102(6):449-451.

Article History

Date submitted: 2011-11-20
Date published: 2012-03-02

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