EPASSA committee member, Gillian Berkowitz summarises discussions at the first EPASSA conference at St. Vincent's school on Sunday 15th May. South Africa currently has less than 7000 qualified psychologists to provide mental health services to a population of 50 million people. 4,5 - 5 million people in South Africa suffer from mental health disorders. 20% of children in schools currently suffer from mental health disorders, which are significant barriers to learning. EPASSA has recently met with the Professional Board of Psychology of the Health Professions Council to seek support and guidance. We have also met with the Council for Medical Schemes. Both of these are organs of the state tasked with protecting the public and the profession of psychology. Despite these meetings, medical aids such as Polmed, Profmed, KeyHealth, GEMS and CAMAF continue to refuse to pay for some or all services rendered by Educational, and in some cases Counselling, Psychologists. Children in schools are also not provided with vital mental health support.
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