Mental Health of Coloured Female Teachers Working in Historically Disadvantaged Special Schools in the Cape Metropole
Swartz-Filies, Sylnita Phillippine
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The World Health Organisation defines mental health as "a state of well-being in which the individual realizes her or his own abilities, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community" (WHO, 2001, p. 1). There is a paucity of academic research about the mental health status of minority groups, especially women of colour (Moultrie & Kleintjes, 2006). In South Africa too, this gap in research is evident when focussing on the mental health of women, especially Coloured women in South Africa. Women's health and their mental health in particular are often affected by the way society treats and regards them; often they suffer from emotional, mental and physical exhaustions. This study investigated the mental health status of Coloured female teachers working in historically disadvantaged Special Schools in the Cape Metropole of the Western Cape Education Department. This group designation is the designation that was formally used during South Africa's Apartheid past policies of segregation in categorising groups according to pre-determined race categories. Coloureds where then considered to be a minority grouping in South Africa. Reference is still currently made in democratic South Africa to the Apartheid race categorisations in contemporary formal policies that seek to redress the inequities of the past, both in terms of race as well as gender categories (Conway-Smith, 2011; Stromquist, 1998). Given the intimate association between race and identity, especially within a socio-historical context such as that of South Africa, it is reasonable to consider the impact of this association on an individual's mental health status.