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South African Journal of Science

On-line version ISSN 1996-7489
Print version ISSN 0038-2353


BANTJES, Jason  and  SWARTZ, Leslie. Load shedding and mental health in South Africa: Methodological challenges of establishing causal links. S. Afr. j. sci. [online]. 2023, vol.119, n.9-10, pp.1-4. ISSN 1996-7489.

SIGNIFICANCE: We critically interrogate assertions that load shedding has a deleterious impact on mental health and explore the methodological challenges of establishing causal links empirically. We highlight the lack of empirical data to support a causal link and the problem of conflating psychological distress with psychopathology. In addition, we set out the methodological problems associated with collecting data to show that load shedding impacts the prevalence of mental disorders. While it may make superficial strategic sense for activists to link load shedding to mental health as a political strategy to raise awareness, this approach could have long-term negative consequences.

Keywords : load shedding; mental health; psychiatrisation; South Africa; depression; anxiety.

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