Services for Persons Living with Intellectual Disability
Services for Persons Living with Psychosocial Disability
Mental Health Services
Innovation and Training
Intellectual disability is described as a neurodevelopmental disorder which occurs during the developmental period and impacts intellectual as well as adaptive functioning across social, cognitive and practical domains.
Four out of every 100 South Africans are affected by some level of intellectual disability that can range from mild (slow learners) to profound (those with the inability to walk, talk, feed themselves or use the toilet).
People affected by intellectual disability are not ill and cannot be cured (though the disability may have been caused by an illness such as meningitis). Many require lifelong care or support.
Intellectual disability is described as a neurodevelopmental disorder which occurs during the developmental period and impacts intellectual as well as adaptive functioning across social, cognitive and practical domains.
People living with an intellectual disability normally have a lower mental age well below their chronological age and therefore experience difficulty acquiring life skills, coping with challenges, and grasping complex issues they encounter in their lives. Many children show no physical signs and therefore this disability can be elusive to diagnose. The only way to establish whether a child has an intellectual disability or not is through appropriate intelligence tests. Some children, however, can present with obvious features such as Down syndrome and other genetic conditions.
Cape Mental Health offers a range of services for people with intellectual disability and their families – ranging from counselling and support, special education and care centres for children and adults, as well as training and employment opportunities for those who are able to work.
Special Education & Care Centres
The special education and care programme is aimed at the planning and implementation of suitable interventions to meet the special needs of each child with severe and profound disability.
Training Workshops Unlimited
Training Workshops Unlimited (TWU) is a life and work skills training and development project for about 600 persons with intellectual disability to help them achieve their potential for work and employment in Cape Town and surrounding areas.
Training Workshops Unlimited (TWU) is a life and work skills training and development project for about 600 persons with intellectual disability to help them achieve their potential for work and employment in Cape Town and surrounding areas
TWU programmes range from respite care and stimulation for trainees functioning at a lower level (our Eagles programme) to open labour market preparedness, employment, and support for higher-functioning trainees. The training and career path model is unique in South Africa as it successfully progresses trainees, at different levels of functioning, from one level to another with exit opportunities in the economy.
The programme aims to ensure that persons with intellectual disability have equitable access to life-long learning, training and capacity building and can participate fully and equally in the mainstream of the economy. Our programmes are developed at a level suitable for training persons with intellectual disability and culturally appropriate for the South African context so that they can achieve their potential for work and employment in Cape Town and surrounding areas.
Training is appropriately structured at one of the four workshops based in Athlone, Khayelitsha, Mitchells Plain, and Retreat.
The TWU Training and Career Path:
- Eagles programme: Care and stimulation for persons needing high levels of care.
- Life skills Programme: Structured Day Programme including training in self-care, basic work skills, leisure time, music and sport to medium functioning trainees.
- Work Skills Programme: Pre-vocational training, work skills, life skills, community survival and production training to higher functioning trainees.
- Skills Development and Learnerships: Career skills and bridging training to those trainees ready to pursue a career in the open labour market. This programme includes classroom training and practical placements to gain experience and references. The learners have Job Coaches supporting them throughout this programme.
- Siyakwazi Integration Company project: Simulated open labour market employment with equal income opportunities to trainees who completed the previous step but have not yet secured employment. Continued Job Coaching and support as needed.
- Garden Pot Centre: produces cement products such as garden pots, tables, benches, birdbaths, columns, blocks and bricks. These products are manufactured by our trainees who have been trained in the safe and correct use of heavy machinery such as an egg-laying machine. This better prepares them for the OLM
- Supported Employment programme: Continued Job Coaching and follow-up for persons who secured employment and support for their employers to retain employment.
Special Education & Care Centres
Cape Mental Health runs three community-based special education and care centres to meet the special needs of 180 children with severe and profound disabilities. These non-residential facilities draw children from poorly resourced communities in and around Heideveld, Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain.
The special education and care programme is aimed at the planning and implementation of suitable interventions to meet the special needs of each child. This is achieved by an appropriate assessment, an individual education plan, and consistent implementation. The education of a child with such severe disabilities is facilitated through play and, in many cases, by means of a sensory curriculum.
Emphasis is also placed on the acquisition of life skills such as eating, toileting, washing, dressing, and good social interaction. The programme operates within a structure that supplements daily nutrition, provides school transport, and affords access to medical and therapeutic support from local hospitals and other NGOs.
Primary caregivers and guardians of the children are empowered through guidance and capacity building to develop their coping skills and better manage their particular home circumstances. Ongoing support is provided by the staff at our centres and, where needed, in more depth by our teams of social workers in the various areas.
Right to Education Campaign
The perception persists that children with severe or profound intellectual disabilities have little or no educational needs or potential, and they are therefore not fully included in the educational system. This is a violation of these children’s basic human rights, steps are taken to correct this.
The Right to Education Campaign, which came about through partnership working between the Western Cape Forum on Intellectual Disability and the Legal Resources Centre, serves to ensure that these could access education of a high quality, that adequate funding is provided for such educational services, and that trained staff, transport and other required resources be made available.
The campaign has the potential to provide excellent results given some of the achievements in the Western Cape. These outcomes do however require persistent, ongoing efforts and it is recommended that community-based organisations and mental health activists become the driving forces and catalysts for change.
A Right to Education Toolkit was developed in partnership between the South African Federation for Mental Health (SAFMH) and Cape Mental Health during 2014, which was a tool to assist Mental Health Societies with the national roll-out of the Right to Education Campaign. These documents can be obtained from SAFMH.
Garden Cottage provides community-based supervised accommodation for 8 woman living with an intellectual disability that addresses their physical and mental health, social and recreational opportunities, safety and security, life skills and work skills training.
The Eagles programme plays a vital role in providing a safe environment, quality day care, and a structured programme that encourages adults with severe and profound disabilities, to develop to their full potential.
Garden Cottage provides supervised accommodation for 8 adult females living with an intellectual disability. The home environment meets the physical, emotional, therapeutic and financial needs of the residents. This also includes individual development plans, balanced meals, hygiene and safety, attendance of work or life skills programme, leisure activities and community activities.
The residents benefit from a nurturing, stable and safe environment in which they are encouraged to make their own choices and pursue individual interests. Garden Cottage is the residents’ ‘home away from home’.
At Garden Cottage, residents are encouraged to achieve greater independence and a sense of self-worth. A stable and structured environment facilitates their adjustment to community living whilst allowing individuals to develop at their own pace and acquire the necessary skills. The residents attend Athlone Training Workshop where they receive skills training and enjoy opportunities to socialise with other people with intellectual disabilities.
Adults with severe and profound intellectual disability belong to one of the most deprived and discriminated sectors in our society. Inadequate support, the pressures of family life, and living in areas with growing social ills, deprive them of their right to a better quality of life and dignity.
The Eagles programme plays a vital role in providing a safe environment, quality day care, and a structured programme that encourages individuals to develop to their full potential. Furthermore, family members and carers are offered respite from having to provide 24-hour care in order to pursue income-generation or employment opportunities that can alleviate the financial burden they face.
Adults with intellectual disability who need help with mobility, feeding and hygiene find a safe haven, specialised care and an innovative, structured programme of activities at our Eagles programme. We provide the service in the Athlone and Mitchells Plain communities as there are almost no community-based support services in those areas for people living with severe to profound intellectual disabilities and their families. Special transport is provided to and from home at these facilities.
Service users attending the Eagles programme participate in a range of activities to improve their level of functioning, viz. self-care and leisure time activities, sensory stimulation to increase their level of interest in the surroundings, group activities and opportunities for socialisation and communication, assistance with feeding and using the toilet, activities to improve their mobility and active participation, developing acceptable social behaviour, and referrals for specialised interventions as needed such as social work, physiotherapy and occupational therapy.
Psychosocial disabilities are mental and emotional disorders such as depression, schizophrenia, bipolar mood disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, or other conditions.
Fountain House (SA)
Fountain House (SA) is a community-based rehabilitation centre that benefits service users with a work-ordered day programme. It creates opportunities for them to begin the journey of recovery, find meaning in life, and improve their socio-economic status.
Kimber House is a Supported Accommodation Programme, providing a safe, secure, comfortable, supportive and affordable home environment and the development of daily living skills to 11 men and women with psychosocial disability.
A community-based rehabilitation centre, Fountain House (SA) plays a vital role in the lives of people living with psychosocial disability. It creates opportunities for them to begin the journey of recovery, find meaning in life, and actively contribute to the social and economic well being of one another and their families.
Service users are able to attend our Fountain House centres in Observatory and Mitchells Plain where they benefit from a work-ordered day programme. They receive ‘on-the-job’ training in a variety of skills through their participation in various work units, such as the administration, catering, craft workshop, and employment/communications unit, and access various opportunities for work in the open labour market. They also develop greater insight into their psychosocial disabilities through psycho-education and are able to interact with their peers who face the same challenges when it comes to living with psychosocial disability.
The aim is to enable persons living with psychiatric disabilities to ultimately become reintegrated into society and the workplace, and to achieve the highest level of independence possible.
Kimber House is a Supported Accommodation Programme, providing a safe, secure, comfortable, supportive and affordable home environment to 11 adults with psychosocial disability.
Men and women living with a psychosocial disability benefit from the opportunity to live independently, while still being able to depend on the support, assistance and protection of a more structured environment. The programme also builds the capacity of residents through encouraging their participation in menu planning, budgeting, grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning, problem-solving and conflict resolution.
The programme aims to provide continuous support and individual case management for each member, participation in goal setting, as well as life skill activities and vocational skills training at Fountain House (SA). The dynamic of the programme increases social involvement through organised house events and social and recreational activities at Fountain House and in the community.
We live in a very health-conscious society. But most of us focus mostly on taking care of our bodies: dieting, exercising and cutting down on harmful habits like drinking and smoking, to reduce the chances of heart disease and cancer.
However, good health also means good mental health. Whether you think of it as happiness, peace of mind or a sense of fulfilment, mental health is something we all want for ourselves. Mental health has to do with the quality of our lives and the way that we get along – in our families, at school, at work, and at play. If we are mentally healthy we can cope better with the stresses in our lives, form good relationships and work productively.
Mental health problems are common in societies throughout the world. In fact, almost every family is affected at some or other stage. The earlier a problem is picked up and the person is given help, the easier it is for everyone involved.
Cape Mental Health runs awareness, education, counselling and training programmes aimed at helping people enjoy good mental health.
Social Work Services
Cape Mental Health offers a range of social work services to people with intellectual disability and those with psychosocial disability. Holistic, family-focused services are offered across the greater Cape Town area as well as in peri-urban and rural areas.
YouthMatters is a comprehensive school mental health promotion project that is being implemented with the learners and educators of Ocean View and Zeekoevlei Secondary Schools to improve resilience and coping skills.
Awareness and Prevention
To increase understanding of mental health issues in the community, as well as to increase knowledge and awareness and to promote the services of Cape Mental Health.
To provide vulnerable individuals and groups with mental health programmes and services.
To provide support and assistance and the provision of statutory services for clients (in terms of the Mental Health Care Act of 2002).
To provide clients with services that enhance positive lifestyles, self-reliance and optimal functioning within the community.
Counselling (for individuals and their families):
- To improve the knowledge and understanding of service users and to assist with access to services, resources and opportunities
- To develop their skills to cope with the stresses of daily life
- To improve insight and promote responsible self-reliant behaviour
- To assist with Disability Grant Administration for people with mental disabilities
- To equip families with the skills necessary to cope with a family member who has a mental disability
Group Work services:
- To offer life skills training that promotes self-acceptance, positive relationships with others and the problem-solving
- To equip parents and carers with knowledge and skills to respond appropriately to the needs of their children with mental disability
- To provide time-limited (short-term) groups in specific areas such as sexuality and life skills, substance abuse, and social skills
Community Work services
- To run Wellness Events that enhance the mental health of communities, service users and caregivers
- To provide information tables, exhibitions and mental health presentations to raise awareness and educate the public about mental health and the services of Cape Mental Health
- To do rural outreach that builds the capacity of relevant role-players, stakeholders and service providers in the mental health field and in other fields, with respect to mental health issues
- To build the capacity of role-players, stakeholders and service providers with respect to mental health issues
- To run schools’ programmes that empower learners and educators to identify and deal with mental health problems and access services where necessary
YouthMatters is a comprehensive school mental health promotion project that is being implemented with the learners of Ocean View and Zeekoevlei Secondary Schools.
Based on the Australian school mental health programme, YouthMatters has been adapted to address social issues such as poverty, child abuse and neglect, substance abuse, teenage pregnancy and other issues that affect youth in South Africa.
It provides structure, guidance and support, enabling schools to build their own mental health strategy to suit their unique circumstances. YouthMatters provides school staff with blended professional learning that includes online resources, spotlights on topics relevant to schools, face-to-face events, webinars and support.
Employee Assistance Programme
Our Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) provides comprehensive, customised counselling services to corporate clients designed to identify and resolve employee issues that may impact negatively on the workplace.
Access to Justice
Our Access to Justice programme includes the Sexual Abuse Victim Empowerment (SAVE) programme which is a comprehensive psycho-legal programme for persons with mental disabilities who have been sexually abused, as well as support services to persons with mental disabilities who are in conflict with the law.
The Sexual Abuse Victim Empowerment (SAVE) programme is a comprehensive programme that aims to ensure access to justice for persons with mental disabilities who have been sexually abused. The programme provides psycho-legal assessments conducted by clinical psychologists.
The psychologists provide expert court testimony based on the psycho-legal assessment in order to prepare the court for the complainant with regards to the complainant’s capabilities and support needs. Social workers complete in-depth psychosocial assessments in order to identify needs and refer to our field social work services for follow-up support services. Social workers provide a comprehensive package of social work services including counselling to the complainant and the family, support before, during and after the court process and liaison with the investigating officers, court staff and psychologists.
In addition, the SAVE programme aims to create a safe and supportive environment for complainants and their families by providing a nutritional meal when they come for assessments as well as providing them with transport if this is unavailable.
Clients in Conflict with the Law
The Criminal Procedures Act of 1997, Section 77 was amended in 2014 following the Stuurman case which had been cited, found that persons living with mental disabilities should not be tried under the conventional court proceedings as this was deemed unconstitutional. The High Court delivered their judgement stating that prisons are not suitable for the rehabilitation of people with mental disabilities.
Cape Mental Health resolved that prisons be removed as an option in these unique cases and that proper intervention and support be provided. This saw the development of the Access to Justice programme within the psycho-legal services wing of the organisation.
The Access to Justice programme provides support through the social work department to persons living with a mental disability who are in conflict with the law. We investigate whether the accused has legal representation and advocate for the person to be released from custody and ensure they gain access to a mental health service/institution with a mental health professional if necessary. The accused will also receive ongoing support throughout the court case.
Our Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) provides comprehensive, customised counselling services designed to identify and resolve employee issues that may impact negatively on the workplace. Our aim is to partner with businesses and industries in offering counselling to staff to provide optimum staff wellness in the workplace.
EAP aims at improving the quality of life for employees and their families and is designed to assist in the identification and resolution of performance problems for both individuals and their employers. The economic impact of not making proper mental health care available to employees far exceeds the cost of actually providing it. Challenges such as absenteeism, poor productivity, poor interpersonal relationships, higher disability insurance claims and high staff turnover are a result of poor investment in staff wellness.
Cape Mental Health has a proud history of asserting its role in the prevention of mental health issues though proactive intervention.
Innovation and Training Department
Learning for Life provides a variety of customised courses, workshops, programmes and study materials to assist service providers supporting persons with mental and physical disabilities and to improve the quality of training and services provided to service users.
Easy-to-Read is an internationally recognised method of presenting written information in an easier-to-understand format, while the text is supported by pictures, photos and other symbols, in order to address the rights of service-users to access information that is comprehensible so that they can learn and make informed decisions on matters impacting on their lives.
A leading training service provider in the disability sector, Learning for Life provides a variety of customised, courses, workshops, programmes and study materials to assist organisations supporting persons with mental and physical disabilities.
We offer a professional service at affordable rates to community workers, therapists, care workers, nurses, teachers, social workers, class assistants, parents and NGO staff.
Learning for Life aims to:
- enhance and further develop competencies, knowledge and skills of people working in the sector, in order to improve the quality of service delivery to people living with mental disability
- build the capacity of care workers and caregivers, nurturing their well-being and ensuring that they can acquire the necessary skills and access available resources to function effectively
- ensure that training programmes, workshops and study materials provided are relevant, current and innovative
- improve the quality of life of people with mental disability and that of their families, and to create an enabling environment that encourages service-users to develop coping skills and self-reliance.
Service users with intellectual disability have the right to access information that is easy to read and to understand. Being able to access information in a way they can understand will help them to learn and to make decisions for themselves.
Easy-to-Read is an internationally recognised method of presenting written information in an easier-to-understand format, while the text is supported by pictures, photos and other symbols.
This format of sharing information has strict guidelines to make the message easy to understand. Sentences need to consist of no more than ten to fifteen words per sentence and should only have one idea and one verb in them.
Easy-to-Read can help us communicate with people who:
- have intellectual disability
- have a learning disability
- do not speak English as their first language
- have basic reading skills
The investment by AMSOL (African Marine Solutions) enabled Cape Mental Health to commission the first roll out of this programme within South Africa by establishing a dictionary of pictures which will form the basis of Easy-to-Read in future.
An Easy-to-Read task team was established to provide strategic input into and oversight of the ETR project. The task team consisted of senior management, the ETR project manager, relevant project staff and an independent contractor, with the help of a committee of individuals with varying levels of functioning within the spectrum of intellectual disabilities who represented groups of different races, gender, religion, housing situations, and ability to read.
The ETR dictionary of images will be used to rewrite existing Cape Mental Health (CMH) documents as well as generate new materials in ETR versions according to the Inclusion Europe ETR standards. All agendas, minutes of meetings, and other relevant documents at CMH will be written in ETR and will be proofread by at least one person with intellectual disability who has read and understood the information (in line with the criteria of ETR Europe to qualify as an ETR document).
This programme had been rolled out across CMH with the phased in training of all key staff to ensure they know how to write in ETR and use the ETR Image Dictionary.
18 & 22 Ivy Street, Observatory
Cape Town, South Africa