Original Articles

Broadening Mental Health Services to Disadvantaged Communities in South Africa: Reflections on Establishing a Community Based Internship

Published in: Journal of Psychology in Africa
Volume 16, issue 2, 2006 , pages: 273–281
DOI: 10.1080/14330237.2006.10820131
Author(s): Sherine van WykPsychology Department, South Africa, Anthony V. NaidooPsychology Department, South Africa


The need to provide mental health services in disadvantaged communities remains a priority in South Africa. This paper illustrates how in consultation and partnership with the peri-urban community of Jamestown, a counselling psychology internship was established to provide a range of mental health services at a primary health clinic. We describe how the internship also became an important catalyst for other community interventions. We also illustrate how values of community psychology informed the establishment and foci of the internship. Tensions encountered in reconciling community needs and professional training requirements discussed include the lack of resources at the primary health care level, the bio-medical bias of the primary health setting, and addressing the needs articulated by the community for more direct interventions.

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