Do I need to speak to someone about my mental health?

At some point in our lives, we’ve all heard the term “mental health”. Some of us have taken the initiative to understand different perspectives and insights on mental health, while others may have personally struggled with their own mental health or know someone close – a parent, partner, sibling, or friend – who requires the expertise of a mental health professional. It’s crucial to be aware of the various titles of mental health practitioners and their role in helping you or someone you know. I’d like to provide you with some information on who you can reach out to for assistance when the need arises.

Mental health care practitioners

When seeking the help of counsellors or life coaches, it is important to ensure they have received proper training and hold a certificate. It is even better if they are Registered with an organisation that holds them accountable for their services. Unfortunately, there are many unqualified counsellors who still offer their services, so it is crucial to do your research before seeking their help.

Registered Counsellors

Although we sometimes consider these Counsellors in the same category as lay Counsellors, they have actually earned an undergraduate degree in psychology, completed their honours in psychology, and undergone at least 720 hours of practical training. Additionally, they must be registered with either the HPCSA (Health Professional Counsel of South Africa) or other counselling or psychological boards that guarantee their practitioners are appropriately trained and provide ethical services.

A Registered Counsellor provides short-term counselling services, ranging from one debrief or containment session up to a maximum of ten sessions. They conduct one-on-one sessions with clients and also conduct workshops in groups, covering a wide range of topics. Registered Counsellors can offer assessments for subject choice, career guidance, and school readiness. While our services can be claimed from your medical aid, we cannot guarantee that your plan covers these sessions.


Psychologists are experts in dealing with different mental health issues and are trained to diagnose patients with various mental illnesses. They provide long-term therapy to clients who have complex or severe mental health challenges. Additionally, they offer a broad range of assessments and are affiliated with different organisations based on their specialisation. Psychologists undergo extensive academic and practical training and must pass the board exam to be Registered with the HPCSA.

Psychiatrists and Doctors

Psychiatrists provide different types of therapy and usually work in mental health clinics or hospitals where they offer one-on-one sessions with their clients. They also collaborate with other healthcare professionals. Psychiatrists and doctors play a crucial role in helping people with mental health issues by prescribing appropriate medication and dosage while creating a management plan to help manage their conditions. It is essential to understand that medication alone does not cure mental illness, but it helps the client achieve a more stable chemical state, enabling them to participate in therapy more effectively.

You now have more knowledge about mental health practitioners. This can help you choose the best one to help you or a loved one when the time arrives.

All the best with your mental health.

Chantel Retter
Registered Counsellor
PRC 032204

Cornerstone Institute
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