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Community mental health care in Botswana: approaches and opportunities


Esther Salang Seloilwe, Department Nursing Education, University of Botswana, PO Box 70032, Gaborone, Botswana; Tel: 267-3552364/5; Fax: 267-3185096; E-mail:


Aim:  The purpose of this article is to provide an insight into the developmental trends in community mental health care in Botswana. Different approaches are discussed and the opportunities that have emanated from them.

Background:  Care of the mentally ill in Botswana is provided at different levels of coverage and sophistication. There is a single mental hospital in the country. Attached to the district hospitals are psychiatric outpatient clinics run by psychiatric nurses and a psychiatrist who visits them on monthly basis. Mental health care in Botswana has gone through a paradigm shift, from the prepenal years, penal years and institutional to community based care, which reflects a philosophy of citizen involvement and collaboration.

Conclusion:  Several approaches have been utilized in the development of community mental health care. However, difficulties and challenges still exist in the provision of community mental health care.