Less than 5% of SA’s public health budget is being spent on mental health services, and the little money that has been allocated is not being spent effectively, according to new research from the University of Cape Town (UCT).

Mental health care, which is often described as the Cinderella of health care because it is so neglected, has received increased attention from the government since the Life Esidimeni scandal, which led to the death of 144 state mental patients after they were transferred by the Gauteng health department from private hospitals to ill-equipped and unlicensed facilities in an attempt to save money.

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