Evaluation of an Advocacy Programme for Mental Health Care Users in South Africa: A Mixed Methods Study

T. Davies, R. Roomaney, C. Lund, K. Sorsdahl*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


This study evaluates the implementation of a national advocacy programme for mental health care users, conducted by the South African National Department of Health and the South African Federation for Mental Health. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with care users (n = 18), service providers (n = 9), support persons (n = 6), NGO directors (n = 4), and programme managers in the DoH (n = 4). Although informational benefits were highlighted from programme empowerment sessions, very few advocacy groups were subsequently established. Barriers to establishing and conducting advocacy groups included a lack of follow-up support, pervasive stigma from communities and health care workers, low self-confidence, and a lack of financial resources. Facilitators for establishment of groups included conducting empowerment sessions and identifying ‘mental health champions’ at clinics, improving mental health training for health workers, dispensing psychiatric medication to patients on the same day, providing funding for non-governmental organisations, conducting national awareness campaigns, and establishing holistic rehabilitation centres for care users.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCommunity Mental Health Journal
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021


  • Advocacy
  • Community mental health
  • Service user involvement
  • South Africa
  • Stigma
  • Support groups


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