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Dr. Yumna Minty – specialist psychiatrist and lecturer in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of the Witwatersrand

This week on Womanity-Women in Unity Dr. Amaleya Goneos-Malka talks to Dr. Yumna Minty, who is a specialist psychiatrist and also lectures in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of the Witwatersrand. Some of her areas of interest include women’s mental health, mental health in adolescents and young adults, depression and anxiety disorders, and older age mental disorders.

She reflects that mental health is not just the absence of illness but should refer to a state of mind and being where people function optimally. She notes that in general women are two to three times more likely to develop a psychiatric disorder when compared to men. Common disorders affecting women include anxiety, stress, eating disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). There are both inherent and environmental factors the contribute to psychological difficulties and stresses. Environmental variables can be changed and thereby reduce negative impacts on women. For instance women are more prone to physical abuse, emotional neglect and less emphasis may be placed on a girl’s education than a boy’s development.

In modern society women bear dual responsibilities of maintaining their homes and pursuing careers, which increases the potential risk for burnout. Her top three tips for women to help manage their mental health are aiming to lead a healthy lifestyle for body and mind, have healthy relationships and ask for help when needed.

Education is an important enabler for women, it gives them the possibility to attain economic freedom and independence to take control over their destiny. In a world that is always changing, our situations change, and new developments arise in our respective fields of interest; if we do not keep up with lifelong learning we are doing an injustice to ourselves and those we serve through our vocation. Tune in for more….

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