This is an inpatient unit, currently based in Ward 1, which aims to assist adults with a wide range of psychiatric illnesses and psychological problems. The services is available to people who live in the Valkenberg catchment area. The Unit has changed over the past couple of years: it is no longer a psychotherapeutic unit or a neuroclinic, and the focus is now on thorough assessment, and crisis intervention and treatment within a short-term programme.
The Unit caters for people with mood disorders (particularly major depressive episodes and dysthymis); somatisation and anxiety disorders (including post traumatic stress disorders), adjustment disorders, personality disorders (if it is felt that an intervention may help) and other "problems in living" (e.g. bereavement, coping with trauma).
People referred to the Unit should be willing and able to participate in a life-skills based ward programme.
The aims of the Unit
These are to assess the person's difficulties, formulate an understanding of these difficulties in terms of their life context, develop a treatment and management plan, provide containment and limited interventions, and refer the person for appropriate longer-tem follow-up or treatment. This follow-up may be at a community clinic, a specialised centre, or in the private sector.
The Unit offers counselling, medication, psyco-education information about resources, family work, and a group programme focussed on support and the development of life skills (e.g. anxiety management, assertiveness). The daily programme also includes some hobbies (e.g. pottery, art). The programme runs for about two or three hours a day from Monday to Friday.
What the Unit does not offer
The Unit is not geared towards helping people with primary substance abuse, eating or psychotic disorders. People with these disorders should only be referred to the Unit if the disorder is secondary and reasonably well controlled.
Aggressive or violent individuals and those who are actively suicidal cannot be contained on this Unit, and they should only be referred when they are no longer an active risk to others or themselves and if they are appropriate for the programme.