New mental health legislation in South Africa - principles and practicalities: A view from the Department of Health

  • Melvyn Freeman


The Mental Health Care Act has been passed by parliament. There are a number of changes from the Mental Health Act (Act 18 of 1973) and this article outlines the basic principles of the new legislation and several of the procedural modifications which follow. The legislation has a strong human rights focus and addresses problems relating to current abuses of people with mental disabilities. The success of the legislation will be dependent on the commitment of all role-players to implement both the spirit and the letter of the law, and stakeholders are requested to become partners with the Department of Health in this important endeavour.

South African Psychiatry Review - August 2002

Author Biography

Melvyn Freeman
Director: Mental health and substance abuse. National Department of Health, South Africa

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1994-8220