Dear Medical Student: Med School Is Not Worth Your Self-Harm

Dear Medical Student: medical school is worth a lot of things. I can tell you that because I went from hating medical school to loving being a doctor (well, on most days).

But it’s not worth that.

Mental Health and HIV, ft. “My Life After Now”

Earlier this year I wrote that we needed more YA about teens with HIV. I didn’t know, at the time, that a 2013 YA existed on the very topic: My Life After Now by Jessica Verdi. I also didn’t know that not soon after I would be injured on duty, have to take prophylaxis, and months laterContinue reading “Mental Health and HIV, ft. “My Life After Now””

Books as a Mirror for Attitudes toward Mental Health

For Mental Health Awareness Month I wanted to make a list of books about mental health. I was done with a rough draft when I realised I didn’t like it: I hadn’t read that many YA about mental health and some pretty voracious readers are sure to post some fantastic lists. What I do wantContinue reading “Books as a Mirror for Attitudes toward Mental Health”

Healthcare for LGBT Patients in South Africa

In our third year, a friend of mine had an upsetting first shift in Trauma Surgery: the first suturing she ever did was on a young woman who had just survived corrective rape. Rape is common in our country in general, and so is the “corrective” rape of gender non-conforming women. A year later, weContinue reading “Healthcare for LGBT Patients in South Africa”

I said, eliminate the stigma..!

Studying for tests on Friday which will hopefully mean the end of Middle Clinical Rotations and herald the beginning of my Late Clinical Rotations, i.e. the final 17 months of medical school. One of the tests is psychiatry.  I saw these two secrets on PostSecret that tugged at my heartstrings (metaphorically).

Removing the Stigma from Mental Illness

It has been a long and difficult week in Psychiatry. This week, we’ve been exposed to a large mental hospital campus, where I found working with intellectually disabled children and therapy groups especially insightful – and emotionally taxing. Here is a short TedTalk by one of the psychiatrists working there. It is pretty self-explanatory, butContinue reading “Removing the Stigma from Mental Illness”

Book Review: Whisper Not

Readers of this blog might remember that I went to my first ever book fair last year. My first purchase that day was a book called Whisper Not: 15 Africans speak out on life and love beyond HIV (Mpongo et al), which some of the authors graciously signed for me. It took me a while toContinue reading “Book Review: Whisper Not”

World Leprosy Day

Stigma should not be seen as residing in an individual with a disease, but it resides in the society that has not found a way to be inclusive. We have a duty to diagnose and treat the stigma. John Manton, The International Leprosy Association, 2007 Perhaps the first disease I knew of, thanks to myContinue reading “World Leprosy Day”