The Challenge

Let perseverance be your engine and hope your fuel

PHOLA Programmes seek to address a myriad of challenges among them high incidence of alcohol abuse.

  • South Africa has the highest incidence of alcohol abuse in the world, after the Ukraine (National Mental Health Policy Framework and Strategic Plan 2013-2020). The consequences of these patterns of substance abuse include increased risk of mental disorders, crime and violence etc.
  • According to Statistics SA: one in five South African women older than 18 years has experienced physical violence.
  • Many women die at the hands of their intimate partners.
  • There are limited services for women wanting to leave abusive relationships.
  • Women carry the disproportionate burden of poverty and unemployment.
  • There are high levels of teenage pregnancy
  • Young women between 15-24 are eight times more likely to be HIV positive than their male counterparts.
  • Violence against women and children is largely perpetrated by men.  There is a need to challenge societal attitudes of patriarchy and chauvinism.
  • There is a lack of public or community awareness on the psychosocial and mental health effects of violence, trauma and abuse and a lot of stigma exists towards people who are survivors of these experiences
  • Approximately 16.5% of South Africans suffer mood, anxiety, or substance use disorders each year however only one in four South Africans have access to mental health or psycho-social interventions of any kind.
  • Most psychosocial disorders have their origins in childhood and adolescence. Approximately 50% of mental and psychosocial disorders begin before the age of 14 years
  • Mental health problems and psycho-social distress have serious economic and social costs. This includes direct costs related to the provision of health care and indirect costs such as reduced productivity at home and work, loss of income and loss of employment. Social costs of mental health and psychosocial distress may include disrupted families and social networks, stigma, discrimination, loss of future opportunities, marginalization and decreased quality of life.
  • The relationship between poverty and mental ill-health has been described as a “vicious cycle.” People living in poverty are at an increased risk of developing mental disorders through the stress of living in poverty, increased obstetric risks, lack of social support, increased exposure to violence and abuse. Those who live with mental illness are at an increased risk of sliding into poverty as a result of increased health expenditure, lost income, reduced productivity, lost employment and social exclusion due to stigma.
  • There is a lack of skills and human resources to respond effectively to mental health and psychosocial problems experienced by vulnerable communities

The goal of Phola is to contribute to closing these gaps.