A recent programme from South Africa on mental health provision in the country. I first looked at certain issues around mental health and criminal justice in South Africa ahead of going there on holiday last year. It was clear from visiting various urban and rural areas that there was much unmet mental health need and a chance conversation with two police officers in Blouberg, near Cape Town, revealed that much police demand is connected to the response to mental ill-health, substance abuse and associated crime and disorder.
However, officers had even less training and access to even fewer support and diversion services. We can see in this programme (25mins) the disparity in care in this beautiful country and how the South African police service get drawn in to demands. All too often, a criminalising response to vulnerable people being the only one available apart from doing nothing at all.