Address mental illness

Johann Kikillus,
Ocean View

On Tuesday June 4 Cape Town saw its first proper cold front bringing with it icy winds and decent rain.

I had meetings in Cape Town centre so parked up at Mount Nelson and walked past the National Assembly and provincial legislature to the Department of Social Development.

The elephant in the room was the very high number of homeless people in that area – all soaking wet and cold.

I have noted over the past 10 years that the number of homeless people in Cape Town and across the metropole all the way to Simon’s Town has increased.

What is alarming is the fact that many of these people are battling with mental illness. Some of them are a danger to themselves and others, but the fact is that all of them are subject to horrendous sexual and physical abuse.

I have listened
to countless stories
of rape and torture
and lack of assistance from officials.

Our public hospitals have also seen an increase in inpatients with mental illness. Those patients often have to wait for weeks to
get admitted at a psychiatric hospital.

During this time, whole wards are taken up which means a lack of bed space for physically ill patients.

The City of Cape Town and the departments of health and social development need to urgently formulate a sustainable solution
for the increase in mental illness and homelessness in
Cape Town. It is government’s moral duty to prioritise this as those affected are some of society’s most vulnerable.