Substance abuse is driving up emergency medical care admissions in Western Cape hospitals, the province’s Department of Health said on Tuesday.
Depression and suicide also increased during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Many of the people experienced a relapse because their care was disrupted during the pandemic.
Provincial health department head Dr Keith Cloete said Tik, otherwise known as methamphetamine, was one of the main drivers of mental health psychoses that led to people ending up in emergency rooms.
They were monitored for 72 hours and either discharged or admitted to a psychiatric facility for further treatment.
Cloete said that, during the three waves of the pandemic, all the focus had been on Covid-19, with hospitals dedicating resources to caring for these patients.
Mental health, cancer treatment, tuberculosis, HIV and diabetes treatment had gone onto the backburner for many people.
“That is probably one of the bigger reasons why we need to get as many vaccinated as possible,” he said.
Health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo said Covid-19 had put a strain on elective services.
“We shouldn’t have a health system that has to close just for one pandemic,” said Mbombo, who has consistently raised concerns over neglected elective surgeries and other treatments that were put on hold.
According to statistics supplied, a sample of patients admitted for mental health treatment between 21 June 2020 and 7 November 2021 showed that 692 people were treated for anxiety, 1 157 for mental and behavioural problems, and 809 for schizophrenia.
The trauma wards also had a busy long weekend.
Last Sunday showed the single biggest number of trauma cases this year, with 753 people entering emergency rooms at the 17 hospitals around the province monitored in the statistics.
There were 1 681 trauma cases altogether over the long weekend.