Environmental factors pertaining to mental health in the South African context is here briefly outlined in terms a) South Africa’s history of human rights violations, and b) the COVID-19 pandemic
- Human rights violations: South Africa continues to experience significant inequality in mental health care between white and black populations. This also translates to the difference between public and private healthcare provision, with public health services often overburdened or even non-existent, and private services being expensive. Historically, health facilities were separated by race, and while improvements have been made to healthcare provisions in poorer regions since apartheid ended, the inequality remains and is visible in the stark healthcare outcomes between populations in the country.
- COVID-19 response: In March 2020, the South African Government implemented a hard lockdown to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. An online survey conducted by the South African Depression and Anxiety Group highlighted that the lockdown had impacted negatively on the mental health of the population, with nearly 65% of respondents reporting feeling stressed during the lockdown, despite being in support of the lockdown restrictions.