I am originally from the province of KwaZulu Natal, where I grew up in the dusty streets of a township called Clermont. I completed my MBChB at the Nelson Mandela Medical School before moving to Pretoria to do my internship at Steve Biko Academic Hospital and Tshwane District Hospital. Following this two year internship, I moved to the South African Defence Force and completed my year of community service with the army. This is where my love for psychiatry was particularly tested. My interest in psychiatry grew significantly as I felt that there was a huge burden of mental illness on the community, which led me to pursue this specialisation. The following year I joined the University of Witwatersrand Psychiatric circuit, which included 6-month rotations in government psychiatric facilities (including community clinics), located in Southern Gauteng region. With maximum exposure to the discipline, I then completed my training with an MMed (Wits) and a Fellowship in Psychiatry from the Colleges of Medicine in South Africa (FCPsych-SA).
I enjoy all aspects of adult psychiatry, however being a young female; I have a particular interest in women’s mental health. As the role of the women in society changes and we are beginning to get some recognition for the huge role we play; as opposed to only being viewed as caregivers – there is a lot of pressure placed upon women and very little support. When we are given opportunities to perform tasks that were previously reserved for males, we have to put twice as much effort than they had to. This pressure can breed a lot of anxiety and mood instabilities (including depression). Added to this, as women, our role as “caregivers” has remained our duty and is a task that we are expected to perform just as brilliantly, on top of our other responsibilities.
Aside from the pressures of society, the world we live in has become quite menacing. women are subjected to instances of gender-based violence, sexual assaults, abductions and more that force us to live in constant fear aside from the multitude of mental health disturbances that plague survivors. I find it essential to provide a space for women to get the appropriate assistance and mental support for the many issues we, as women, face.
With this as my primary goal, I also aim to support women who have recently entered motherhood and are battling with this task. ‘Baby blues’ or postpartum depression is a common but gruelling demon to deal with on your own. While things may feel like a burden, the notion that all these experiences are “normal” or “natural” can make many new mothers feel ashamed of their emotional state. When you have a baby, society dictates that you should be “happy/excited” and bonding should occur with minimal effort. When this doesn’t happen, moms are left feeling isolated, afraid and ashamed to verbalise what they are feeling to others. I encourage women experiencing symptoms of post-partum depression, in a safe and supportive space, to share their feelings and by providing support, I aim to lift the burden and assist in bonding with your child.
As it has become apparent, teenagers are also under a lot of pressure these days, resulting in a whole range of psychiatric illnesses and behavioural issues to manifest, which can be difficult for parents to manage on their own. I have a unique interest in these teenagers, and I would aim to manage the psychiatric condition as well as assist parents with behavioural management which can improve negative behaviours and give their child the best opportunity to proceed and lead a prosperous future.
While my passion lies in these areas, I offer therapeutic support for those with a variety of general psychiatric problems including Depression, Bipolar Disorder, Anxiety, Eating Disorders, Psychotic Disorders, ADHD as well as Substance Use Disorders.