Community Mental Health Journal

, Volume 55, Issue 4, pp 672–679 | Cite as

Stakeholders’ Views Regarding Their Role as Support System for People with Mental Illness and Their Families in Rural South Africa

  • Thabisa MatseaEmail author
  • Elma Ryke
  • Mike Weyers
Original Paper


The diverse needs associated with mental illness warrant for the provision of mental health care by various sources. The South African government recognises the involvement of stakeholders as a potential means of narrowing the gaps in mental health service delivery. This study explored the views of different stakeholders about their roles as support systems for people with mental illness and their families at Mashashane, a rural setting in Limpopo Province, South Africa. Seven focus group discussions were conducted with various stakeholders. This qualitative study employed content analysis to allow for comparison of stakeholders’ views. Stakeholders understanding of mental illness was based on reaction towards people with mental illness, causes of mental illness and the behaviour displayed by the ill individual. The identified formal and informal systems were seen as ineffective with regards to provision of support. Collaboration was recommended as a mechanism to improve mental health services. The findings contributed in the formulation of guidelines to improve support.


Collaborations Families Mental illness People with mental illness Rural area Stakeholders Support system 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

Authors declare that there are no known conflicts of interest.

Ethical Approval

The study was approved by the Ethics Committee of the North-West University, Potchefstroom with reference number NWU-00125-11-A1.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants. Participants were reimbursed for transportation.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Social Work, School of Human and Social SciencesUniversity of VendaThohoyandouSouth Africa
  2. 2.Social Work Division, School for Psycho-social Behavioural SciencesNorth-West UniversityPotchefstroomSouth Africa

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