The Department of Psychiatry covers a number of Units Comprising Specialist Hospitals: Sterkfontein and Tara; Acute Units in general hospitals: Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital (CHBAH), Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital (CMJAH) and Helen Joseph Hospital; Child and Family Units at CMJAH, Tara,CHBAH, as well as at Rahima Moosa Mother & Child Hospital and Adolescent Units at Tara and Sterkfontein Hospital (Forensic). The Department also renders service in community at clinics in the following regions; Ekurhuleni, Sedibeng, Metro and West Rand.
The acute psychiatric admission units are high turnover multidisciplinary units which provide specialist psychiatrist cover for casualty, as well as consultation-liaison psychiatry and outpatient psychiatry clinics over and above dedicated inpatient psychiatric care in designated units.
Each of the units provide a 24 hour emergency psychiatric consultation service through the casualties. Patients urgently needing psychiatric intervention/assessment include those who are acutely suicidal, psychotic, aggressive or who need crisis intervention. It is also common for psychiatrists to be called out to give advice on the management of delirium or other acute presentations with a behavioural component. Emergency assessments are carried out on site in casualty by psychiatric medical officers or registrars under consultant supervision.
All the Units are busy service entities and Consultant Psychiatrists, registrars and Psychologists hold joint University/Province appointments. Each Unit runs an academic programme and is involved in postgraduate training of Psychiatrists and Psychologists and Allied Medical Disciplines. Undergraduate medical students do clinical rotations in most of the Units as part of their training.
An important feature of the Department of Psychiatry is that it promotes communication and cohesion between the Units which provide a large proportion of the mental health services in Southern Gauteng. The Department Executive meets monthly with representation from all Units and has academic and service matters on the agenda. The Department has an active research programme with an emphasis on the MMed degree as part of specialist training.