Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Committee
South Africa


Cite as

Council: SOCHUM Country: South Africa

Topic A: Mental Health

Mental illness refers to a wide range of mental health conditions - disorders that affect one’s mood, thinking and behaviour that can potentially affect the daily lifestyle of the person. Examples of mental illness include depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, eating disorders and addictive behaviours. Most of the countries do not set aside adequate funds for mental health care, in fact, 36.3% of the countries that set funds for mental health care spent less than 1% of their total health budget on mental health, which is definitely not sufficient considering the fact that mental health issues are almost 20% of the countries’ total burden of diseases. As such, mental health is definitely a prevalent issue that has been overlooked by various countries.

The entire ideology of mental illness has evolved throughout history. Its focus has evolved from the disease itself to the holistic well-being of a person. For example, in the 1960s and 1970s, a person with a mental illness was defined by diagnosis alone. This resulted in institutionalism of the people with mental illnesses. Soon, a change in the care practices of people with mental illnesses occurred and more emphasis was on the strengths that a person with mental illnesses should achieve rather than the wea...