Childshock: The effects of apartheid on the mental health of South Africa's children

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Abstract

Apartheid has negatively affected the lives of all South African children but its effects have been particularly devastating for black children. The consequences of poverty, racism and violence have resulted in psychological disorders, and a generation of maladjusted children may be the result. This article describes the trauma associated with growing up in a divided society and the ‘childshock’ caused by political unrest and a society in the throes of major social transition. Although the present mental health system is grossly inadequate, hopefully the dismantling of apartheid, social reconstruction and innovative counseling approaches will in time promote the psychological well-being of all South Africa's children.