African Journal of Psychiatry

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The prevalence of mental disorders among children, adolescents and adults in the Western Cape, South Africa

S Kleintjes, AJ Flisher, M Fick, A Railoun, C Lund, C Molteno, BA Robertson


Objective: To provide estimates of the prevalence of selected mental disorders in the Western Cape, based on the consensus achieved by a working group established for this purpose.

Method: An expert working group was established to provide technical expertise for the project. Potential risk factors likely to influence local prevalence rates were identified. Annual prevalence rates for adults and for children and adolescents were derived by consensus, informed by a systematic literature review. Prevalence rates were derived for individual disorders and adjusted for comorbidity.

Results: The overall prevalence was 25.0% for adults and 17.0% for children and adolescents.

Conclusion: Prevalence rates of child, adolescent and adult mental disorders were derived in a short period of time and with the use of minimal resources. Although of unknown validity, they are useful for policy development and for planning service utilisation estimates, resource costing and targets for service development for local mental health needs. This in the absence of an existing methodologically sound national prevalence study. We recommend that policy and programme developers draw on the expertise of local academics and clinicians to promote research-informed planning and policy development in the public sector.

South African Psychiatry Review Vol. 9(3) 2006: 157-160
AJOL African Journals Online