The MHIC celebrates 20 years of service
The Department of Psychiatry at the University of Stellenbosch initiated the Mental Health Information Centre of South Africa (MHIC) in August 1995. The aim of the MHIC is to increase awareness of psychiatric disorders, to encourage early diagnosis and treatment of these conditions, and to address the stigma of mental illness. Methods initially employed to achieve these aims included fielding telephone queries from the general public, and providing the media with accurate facts. This is still one of our aims today. In addition the MHIC is potentially an important part of the SU/UCT MRC Research Unit on Anxiety and Stress Disorders. It is able to provide a mechanism for recruiting participants for research studies, for informing mental health professionals and the public about our research, and for liaising with the increasingly strong consumer lobby that focuses on anxiety disorders and other mental health issues. It also aims to undertake research on community and clinician’s attitudes towards psychiatric disorders including the anxiety disorders.