• Forensic Unit

    Forensic Unit

    The forensic psychiatry unit at Valkenberg Hospital is dedicated to providing psychiatric assessments of defendants referred by the courts and rehabilitation of mentally diso rdered offenders. The Unit is responsible for educating students and colleagues. Research into current issues has a high priority. Within the greater context of mental health care in the community the Unit recognizes that it has to lobby for patients' rights and for needed reforms.

    The Unit consists of the following:

    • Maximum Security Ward (20) (including observation cases)
    • Secure Wards (9/10)
    • Closed/Controlled Ward (7)
    • Open Ward (12)
    • OPD

    Each ward has a programme constructed within a behavioural/milieu system. Patients are placed into groups and given privileges accordingly.

  • Therapeutic Unit Ward 1

    General Introduction

    This is an inpatient unit, currently based in Ward 1, which aims to assist adults with a wide range of psychiatric illnesses and psychological problems. The services is available to people who live in the Valkenberg catchment area. The Unit has changed over the past couple of years: it is no longer a psychotherapeutic unit or a neuroclinic, and the focus is now on thorough assessment, and crisis intervention and treatment within a short-term programme.

    Client Group

    The Unit caters for people with mood disorders (particularly major depressive episodes and dysthymis); somatisation and anxiety disorders (including post traumatic stress disorders), adjustment disorders, personality disorders (if it is felt that an intervention may help) and other "problems in living" (e.g. bereavement, coping with trauma).

    People referred to the Unit should be willing and able to participate in a life-skills based ward programme.

    The aims of the Unit

    These are to assess the person's difficulties, formulate an understanding of these difficulties in terms of their life context, develop a treatment and management plan, provide containment and limited interventions, and refer the person for appropriate longer-tem follow-up or treatment. This follow-up may be at a community clinic, a specialised centre, or in the private sector.

    Interventions offered

    The Unit offers counselling, medication, psyco-education information about resources, family work, and a group programme focussed on support and the development of life skills (e.g. anxiety management, assertiveness). The daily programme also includes some hobbies (e.g. pottery, art). The programme runs for about two or three hours a day from Monday to Friday.

    What the Unit does not offer

    The Unit is not geared towards helping people with primary substance abuse, eating or psychotic disorders. People with these disorders should only be referred to the Unit if the disorder is secondary and reasonably well controlled.

    Aggressive or violent individuals and those who are actively suicidal cannot be contained on this Unit, and they should only be referred when they are no longer an active risk to others or themselves and if they are appropriate for the programme.

  • Male Acute Service

    The unit is one component of a range of services for the assessment and care of people with serious mental illnesses. It is a short-stay inpatient unit for men suffering from a wide variety of psychiatric and neuropsychiatric illnesses which are too severe to be managed at a clinic, outpatient department or other hospital setting. It offers a high-care closed ward for very ill and /or behaviourally disturbed patients who do not need a closed environment; and an open pre-discharge ward for those patients who are not behaviourally disturbed and who may benefit from a ward programme.


  • Women's Mental Health Unit

    The Women's Mental Health Unit is an acute in-patient unit for women suffering from a broad range of psychiatric disorders. the majority of the patients in the unit are psychotic and/or behaviourally disturbed at the time of admission.

  • Valkenberg Hospital Outpatients Department

    Valkenberg Hospital is a specialist level psychiatric hospital serving patients who cannot be managed at a lower level of care and require more complex interventions.
    Appointments at the outpatients’ department (OPD) are by referral only. Patients can be referred by any health care practitioner (doctor, nurse, social worker etc) on our specific referral form. Queries can be sent to: VBH.OPDREFERRALS@WESTERNCAPE.GOV.ZA

    Clinics offered include:
    Psychiatrist, general adult clinic: This is for assessment and stabilization of complex general adult psychiatric conditions (such as mood, psychotic, anxiety disorders) not able to be managed at primary or district level.
    Psychiatrist, EISH clinic (Early intervention, support and health). Weekly family and patient support groups with multidisciplinary treatment including medication. Focusing on recovery for newly diagnosed severe mental illness. Family members must be willing to attend with the patient and the patient must be able to participate in groups in English. Duration 4 months.
    Psychiatrist, Family Clinic: For monthly follow up of patients requiring more intensive family work to resolve family needs (e.g. education, conflict resolution, crisis management planning).
    Psychologist, Individual therapy: short term (6-12 sessions) or medium term (up to 30 sessions) individual psychotherapy.
    Psychologist DBT group: The Dialectical behavior therapy group is a skills based, closed group running for 8 weeks with a specific focus on self-harming behaviour.
    Psychologist psychometric assessment.

    The appointment date depends on waiting lists and availability. During the waiting period, referring clinicians are requested to ensure continued care and medication. If urgent care is needed, the patient should be referred to their nearest 24 hour facility. The service offers time limited interventions after which patients are referred back to primary care for continued follow up.