ER24, a 24/7 emergency paramedic ambulance service, is available for callout to any UCT campus or UCT Student Residence to assist with mental health emergencies for students. This service is available to all UCT students on all campuses, including for students in UCT’s residences. To request the assistance of the ER24 emergency ambulance service, contact Campus Protection Services (CPS) on 021 650 2222/3.
Emergency hospital admissions for students on Campus and in UCT Residences
A student who requires urgent admission to hospital for mental healthcare may be admitted to hospital by giving consent for voluntary admission.
If a student requires urgent hospitalisation for mental healthcare, but the student does not give consent or is unable to give consent due to their condition, the intervention of the South African Police Service (SAPS) may be requested via CPS. SAPS must work within the legislative framework of the Mental Health Care Act (Act No. 17 of 2002)[i] when assisting with an involuntary mental health admission. Such an intervention is undertaken only in the best interest of the student’s health and well-being.
For students in UCT residences, when a mental health crisis occurs over weekends, on a public holiday or nightly after 19:00, the Residence Warden or Assistant Warden will contact CPS to request the assistance of the mental health nurse on duty to assess the student and if necessary, the nurse will facilitate an emergency hospital admission with the assistance of ER24 and/or SAPS.
Issued by the Department of Student Affairs (DSA) and the Department of Properties & Services (P&S)
[i] Mental Health Care Act, 2002 (Act No. 17 of 2002) - the below extract is intended to draw attention to the issue of consent and the intervention by SAPS, and is not intended to detract from the full meaning, context and legal framework of the Mental Health Care Act, 2002.
“…Care, treatment and rehahilitation of mental health care users without consent
(b) at the time of making the application, there is reasonable belief that the mental health care user has a mental illness of such a nature that-
(i) the user is likely to inflict serious harm to himself or herself or others; or
(ii) care, treatment and rehabilitation of the user is necessary for the protection of the financial interests or reputation of the user; and
(c) at the time of the application the mental health care user is incapable of making an informed decision on the need for the care, treatment and rehabilitation services and is unwilling to receive the care, treatment and rehabilitation required.
Intervention by members of South African Police Service
(a) taken to an appropriate health establishment administered under the auspices of the State for assessment of the mental health status of that person; and
(b) handed over into custody of the head of the health establishment or any other person designated by the head of the health establishment to receive such persons…”
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