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PRESS RELEASE: CONCERN OVER HIGH RATES OF PSYCHIATRIC MEDICATION STOCK OUTS

July is commemorated as Psychosocial Disability Awareness month, and this year the South African Federation for Mental Health is focused on raising awareness around the issue of stock outs of psychiatric medication, and the negative effect this has on mental health care users. 

According to the June 2016 Stop Stock Outs Survey, Haloperidol, an antipsychotic medication, was found to be unavailable at 13% of national clinics. In provinces such as Mpumalanga and Limpopo, 33% of clinics reported stock outs of the drug. Haloperidol is classified as an essential medication, and mental health care users whose treatment includes haloperidol should be guaranteed access to the medication at all times. Being unable to access this medication could lead to a return of psychosis symptoms such as delusions or hallucinations as well as relapse, undoing months or even years of hard work to reach a point where the mental health care user is healthy and stable. Unfortunately Haloperidol is simply one of many psychiatric medications that are often unavailable at clinics and hospitals. SAFMH would like to stress the importance of addressing these stock outs of psychiatric medications, and the need to prioritise the health and recovery of South Africa’s mental health care users. 

For people living with mental disorders or disabilities, access to psychiatric medication is essential for their recovery and enables them to live fully productive lives and function as active members of their community. When service users want to access medication and remain treatment compliant, but are unable to do so due to medication stock outs, it is a violation of their human rights, as it infringes on their right to health and dignity.  

The National Mental Health Policy Framework stipulates that all psychiatric medication must be available at all levels of care. This however does not reflect the reality as stock outs of psychiatric medication is a problem that many mental health care users face on a regular basis. SAFMH would like to encourage both the National and Provincial Departments of Health to place greater emphasis on ensuring that service users’ right to health and dignity are protected by ensuring the availability and accessibility of all psychiatric medications at all levels of health care, as well as ensuring the full implementation of the Mental Health Policy Framework. Members of the public are also encouraged to report any medication stock outs to The Stop Stock Outs Campaign, as well as The Mental Health Watch Reporting System.  

 

The Stop Stock Outs Campaign:

www.stockouts.org 

Report stock outs to:

084 855 7867 - SMS, Please Call Me, Phone, WhatsApp

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Mental Health Watch Reporting System: 

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

011 781 1852 

Sms/Whatsapp – 076 0788 722

www.safmh.org 

 

For Enquiries/information: 

Marthé Viljoen

Programme Manager: Information & Awareness

T: +27 (0)11 781 1852

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

JULY PSYCHOSOCIAL DISABILITY AWARENESS MONTH 2016

PRESS RELEASE: MEDICATION STOCK OUTS AND THE LINK TO RELAPSES  

 

July is commemorated as Psychosocial Disability Awareness month, and this year the South African Federation for Mental Health is focused on raising awareness around the issue of stock outs of psychiatric medication, and the negative effect this has on mental health care users.

For many people living with mental disorders or disabilities, access to psychiatric medication is essential for their recovery and enables them to live fully productive lives and function as active members of their community. Mental health care service users not being treatment compliant in terms of medication could potentially lead to relapses. When service users want to access medication and remain treatment compliant, but are unable to do so due to medication stock outs at clinics, it becomes a human rights issue that cannot be ignored.

A study released earlier this year by the World Health Organisation and the World Bank found that depression and anxiety disorders alone cost the global economy US$1 trillion each year. The study also found that mental disorders account for 30% of the global non-fatal disease burden. Statistics like these highlight the need to prioritise mental health and to ensure that service users have access to the required services and treatment. Ensuring access to correct psychiatric medication is one aspect of this.

For many service users, having the required access to psychiatric medication is essential to their recovery and to the ongoing management of their conditions. The availability of psychiatric medication is therefore crucial. Being unable to receive the correct, prescribed medication at clinics leaves patients in a situation which can result in a deterioration in mental health functioning and, worst case scenario, relapse. This can have a number of negative and long lasting consequences, such as re-admission to inpatient facilities, loss of employment, a breakdown in family or other relationships, poorer quality of life and social isolation. The stress caused by not receiving medication and fearing relapse can have very negative effects on the mental wellbeing of service users, and could in itself be enough to trigger a relapse. It may have taken months or even years to reach a point where the individual is stable and able to have full and functional life, and a relapse negates all the hard work that went into their recovery a process. Additionally, increased relapse rates amongst mental health care users also places unnecessary strain on a mental health system that is already in many cases overburdened and under-resourced.    

Due to medication stock outs at clinics, service users are sometimes placed in a position where they are given a different type of medication than what was originally prescribed to them. This can be very harmful, as the substitute medication may not be effective, may bring about unforeseen and unmanageable side-effects and may in itself lead to relapses. In many cases however service users are forced to leave the clinic without any medication, putting them in a position where they would have to go to private pharmacies to buy their medication themselves. For many people this is not financially possible. Being unable to receive the correctly prescribed medication leads to service users having to make additional trips to the clinic, which places them under even more financial pressure as they now have to spend more money on transport.

Robynn Patmore is a mental health service user living with Bipolar Disorder. She has been unable to receive the correct medication due to stock outs, and this has led to relapse and hospitalisation:

“The clinic I always received my medication from ran out of Convalex, and the Convalex is a very good mood stabiliser for me, the other types of medication doctors tried on me in the past didn’t work. Convalex was making me very stable, very calm, cool and collected. I was doing very well on it. And then suddenly the clinic ran out of the Convalex, and the nurses just said they don’t know when it will come back in stock. The psychiatrist put me on Lamaxil instead, and the Lamaxil made me so sick that I actually relapsed and spent four months in hospital.

The hospital put me back on Convalex and I stabilised. But now for the last two months the hospital hasn’t been able to give me the Convalex either, and they don’t know when it will be back in stock. The hospital said they could give me a script for Convalex, but they estimated that it would cost me a thousand rand to buy the medication myself from a pharmacy. I am on a disability pension of R1500, I can’t afford that. So now I have to be on Lithium Carbonate, which I don’t respond well to. So I am expecting another relapse. It is stressing me out terribly, because I have a very high pressure job, and I am so stressed all the time, because I am not on the right medication. And my psychiatrist wants to see me every two weeks, because she is really scared that I am going to relapse.

I just relapsed and was away for four months, so if I relapse again I could lose my job. And every time you relapse, it is that much more difficult to get back on your feet. And four months out of action is a long time. Something needs to be done. Why should we have to be hospitalised because of the clinics errors? Why must I get sick because they can’t provide me with the right medication?”

The lack of access to correct medication at clinics is not just a logistical or policy issue; it is a human rights issue as it violates a person’s right to health and dignity. The National Mental Health Policy Framework stipulates that all psychiatric medication must be available at all levels of care. This however does not reflect the reality as stock outs of psychiatric medication is a problem that many mental health service users face on a regular basis.

SAFMH would like to encourage both the National and Provincial Departments of Health to place greater emphasis on ensuring that service users’ right to health and dignity are protected by ensuring the availability and accessibility of all psychiatric medications at all levels of health care, as well as ensuring the full implementation of the Mental Health Policy Framework. Members of the public are also encouraged to report any medication stock outs to The Stop Stock Outs Campaign, as well as The Mental Health Watch Reporting System. 

The Stop Stock Outs Campaign:

www.stockouts.org

Report stock outs to:

084 855 7867 - SMS, Please Call Me, Phone, WhatsApp

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Mental Health Watch Reporting System:

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

011 781 1852

Sms/Whatsapp – 076 0788 722

www.safmh.org

 Enquiries/information:

Marthé Viljoen

Programme Manager: Information & Awareness 

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Press Release – 26 June International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking

26 June is International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, and this year the theme selected by the United Nations is 'Listen First'. Listen First is an initiative highlighting how listening to children and youth is the first step to helping them grow up healthy and safe, reducing risky behaviours and drug use.  More information about the Listen First campaign can be found at https://www.unodc.org/listenfirst/

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) World Drug Report 2016 shows a rise in the number of problem drug users from 27 to 29 million people aged 15-64, showing that drug abuse continues to be a growing problem worldwide. Children and adolescents who use drugs are often affected by vulnerabilities beyond their control such as poverty and exposure to violence, growing up in homes with a history of substance abuse, and peer pressure. High unemployment, poverty and violent crime rates in South Africa mean that our youth are especially at risk of drug abuse, which could have long lasting negative effects on their mental and physical wellbeing. The earlier children start to experiment with drugs, the more likely they are to develop drug dependence later in life.

SAFMH would like to encourage parents, caregivers, educators and government to make the mental and physical wellbeing of all children and youth in South Africa a priority, and to provide young people with safe and supportive environments that can help them make informed decisions about drug use. 

 

Inquiries/information:

Marthé Viljoen

SAFMH Programme Manager Information & Awareness

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Casual Day - Save the Date! 

Up your Game for Persons with Disability on 02 September 2016!

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PRESS RELEASE - WORLD BIPOLAR DAY 2016: PEOPLE LIVING WITH BIPOLAR DISORDER ARE MORE THAN JUST A DIAGNOSIS

30 MARCH 2016

World Bipolar Day is celebrated annually on the 30th of March, and this year the theme selected by the International Bipolar Foundation is “More Than a Diagnosis.” The aim of this theme is to show that individuals who live with bipolar disorder are more than their bipolar diagnosis; they are capable of living full, successful lives, despite and in spite of their diagnosis.

PRESS RELEASE- CHILDREN WITH DOWN SYNDROME HAVE RIGHT TO INCLUSIVE EDUCATION

21 March is commemorated as World Down Syndrome Day. For 2016 Down Syndrome International and Down Syndrome South Africa have chosen to focus on: “My Friends, My Community” - The benefits of inclusive environments for today's children and tomorrow's adults.

 

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