Shaun Nortje

Motivation

Shaun Nortje
Shaun Nortje

I have long been involved in the area of mental health, and I believe this is a very neglected area not only in the private sector but also the public sector. As an Honours student in Psychology I have seen that psychology and mental health has not been as responsive as I believe it could be. According to an article released on timeslive.com one in three people in South Africa will suffer from mental illness and 75% of those who suffer would not receive any institutional or governmental help. This is appalling, and equally so are the conditions in which mental health is being organised where institutions are understaffed and lacks adequate intervention and pharmaceutical support. It is particularly for impoverished and low SES communities who do not have access to psychologists, registered counsellors or lay counsellors which are generally unaffordable for most and psychologists that are provided by the state are too few to accommodate the increasing demand of a growing South African Population.

  1. Part of this intervention would seek to create awareness of mental health in South Africa, thus more individuals would be confident to seek mental health intervention without stigma.
  2. Secondly intervention is necessary on policy and state level such as the NHI white paper among others to encourage the state to allocate more funds toward mental health
  3. Thirdly to challenge the current educational models for mental health and mental health education. We do currently have a mental health service delivery crisis because there are only 0.069 psychologists per 10 000 of the population, this is also due to the excruciatingly low output of psychologists at tertiary institutions, around 9-12 psychologists per scope per year (i.e. educational(12) Industrial (12) Research(12), industrial and Clinical (12). Most of these psychologists move into private sectors in any case.
  4. Fourth would be to urge the HPCSA to play a greater role in mental health advocacy as outlined by the policy as well as urging the HPCSA to revise its policy regarding registration for psychology students, and those that can contribute to mental health in South Africa but are capsized because they are not allowed into the Masters program because only 12 are permitted.
  5. Lastly looking into edpsych interventions into the life orientation syllabus, where one can educate the youth on mental health.
    My current research looks at creating a mental health smartphone app that communities and professionals working in or residing in low SES who do not have mental health access could use.

A fringe interest would be to further look into the physiological and psychological health benefits of exercise intervention programs.

Source:
http://www.timeslive.co.za/local/2014/07/07/one-in-three-south-africans-suffer-from-mental-illness—most-won-t-get-any-help

Biography

I really like coffee, (I think I’m slightly addicted), enjoy long walks on the beach, philosophising and reading good books. And I do not analyse every person I come into contact with (at least not out loud)

I’ve always been interested in mental health and psychology and particularly looking at creative intervention strategies to diffuse mental health support into communities(i.e. Public health & Mental health) that do not have access or even education surrounding mental health. I have a keen interest in Philosophy as well, particularly morality and ethics(what is justice) and philosophy of mind(what is the mind) and social philosophy(when is society pathological)

I have a dry (sometimes sarcastic) humour which is quite advanced so many people think I’m serious when I’m actually joking, making things a bit awkward and interesting. People tell me I look very intimidating at first sight and then more approachable as they get to know me.

My pet peeves are working with people who are not self-driven, and whom I need to micromanage(I hate micromanaging). I am a strong team player but function best with a group that is independent. I find it challenging to find balance in life (as I suspect most would) due to the fact that I put high priority on excellence and pride in my work that filters through to my holistic development as a person. I have a passion for social sciences, particularly in the domain of ‘healing’, this could be applied to trauma, abuse, etc.

I also enjoy exercising an eclectic mix of crossfit, muscle building and weightlifting. My personal philosophy is to live a balanced life and to develop myself in all aspects to the best of my ability, this would include my body, my mind and my spiritual aspects. This leadership role would form part of that development and I also hope to leave a legacy and contribute to society as best I can.

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