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Child and Adolescent psychiatrist, Sue Hawkridge, describes how the South African public mental health system works. She gives an outline of Primary, Secondary and Tertiary levels of care and how they are meant to work together to treat health issues in the community and where this goes wrong. She also explores what the role of community and home-based carers in treating the communities. She further unpacks some of the challenges faced in getting adequate mental health care to the population.