About the Organisation


Pietermaritzburg Mental Health is a long established non-government organisation in existence since 1945. The NGO renders services to persons with mental disabilities. The services offered include social work, occupational therapy, residential care and protective employment. Indirect services to individuals and communities focuses on mental health awareness, community development and education.

Areas of Operation

The organisation operates in the District Municipalities of Umgungundlovu, Ugu and Harry Gwala, but focuses largely on Pietermaritzburg and adjacent rural communities.


Pietermaritzburg Mental Health empowers people to ensure optimum quality of life.


Pietermaritzburg Mental Health believes that people with intellectual and psychiatric disabilities have a right to a place in society and a right to education, training, work and social inclusion. The organisation strives to create awareness about mental well-being to dispel the myths and stigma attached to these disabilities. Persons with psychosocial needs face social and employment difficulties and challenges related to the stigma attached to their conditions.

The organisation’s largest challenge is to create awareness about services. This is critical in terms of accessibility to treatment facilities and also the prevalence of ignorance of the illness and the isolation of persons with mental disabilities.

Too often people with mental disabilities are denied the appropriate education and work opportunities and are socially side-lined, abused and exploited. The organisation strives to help them to overcome the obstacles that deny them the appropriate opportunity to reach their full potential.


1. To work with the community to achieve the highest possible level of mental health for all by:

• Enabling people to participate in the identification of individual and community mental health needs and by responding appropriately;
• Developing effective but affordable services to meet the needs of people having difficulty coping with everyday situations or who are affected by a mental disability such as psychiatric illness, intellectual disability or emotional disturbance;
• Creating a public awareness of mental health issues;
• Striving for the recognition, promotion and protection of mental health rights for all people.

2. The organisation aspires towards a caring and equal service system with a just and fair society.

3. The organisation believes in a service delivery system reflected in an accountable partnership between the organisation and the individual or community.

4. The organisation accepts the uniqueness of each individual and recognizes the potential of people. Its management is responsive and based on participation, mutual trust and respect. Its structure is such that it encourages and facilitates the development of community.


The organisation is governed by an elected Board of Management, comprising professionals, businessmen and mental health care users (or parents), who give of their valuable time and expertise voluntarily.

The organisation employs 79 staff members, comprising Social Workers, Occupational Therapist, Professional Nurses, Care Givers, Workshop Instructors, Employment Officer, Maintenance And Administration Staff.

The organisation outsources various services to contractors – these include catering, cleaning, laundry and security:
Capitol Caterers, Bidvest, Red Alert are but a few who provide these vital services.


In pursuit of its Mission the organisation:
1. Promotes the mental well-being of all people and collaborates and liaises with other organisations with similar aims at regional and local level;
2. Establishes and maintains services for the promotion of mental well-being and the prevention of mental disability;
3. Provides any therapeutic, developmental or rehabilitative programme in aid of such persons,  including  the provision of accommodation, counselling, education, training and vocation
4. Assists  individuals and groups in the community to undertake any task related to services and programmes including the formation of self-help and support groups
5. Speaks out on mental health issues in regional and local forums and media and creates public awareness of the needs and rights of persons with mental disability;
6. Prepares and disseminates information and educational mental well-being or disability
7. Initiates and participates in research into the causes, incidence and treatment and in promotion of mental well-being;
8. Strives to co-ordinate voluntary community services with the area of operation of the organisation;
9. Co-operates with government departments, local authorities and families, voluntary organisations and private individuals in the furthering of the objectives of the organisation; and
10. Co-operates with relevant training facilities and any other discipline that may contribute towards the realization of the objectives of the organisation.


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