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Student psychiatry society

The Psychiatry Society is happy to announce that, after two years of hard work, we have been officially approved by UCT. It has been a long road, which has seen us grow to 147 members. Over the past year, we completed a diverse range of events. We co-hosted MedFest, a psychiatric short film festival which looked at trauma and conflict’s effect on mental health. We screened an Animation called ‘Max and Mary’, followed by a discussion around Autism led by Professor Petrus de Vries. In collaboration with SHAWCO Mental Health we worked up help upskill students with practical skills for identifying and dealing with mental health issues in a CHC setting. We have been working hard on several projects that will launch early next year.

The close of this year sees the leadership of the committee being taken over by David Backwell (founder) and Dr David Hume as co-chairs. They will be representing UCT at the World Psychiatry Association’s international congress, along with other society delegates. This marks a step forward in creating networks of young and established professionals and fostering a cross-pollination of ideas and interests. As reflected in our official mission statement, the Student Psychiatry Society aims to highlight the field of psychiatry as the point where the sciences meet the humanities, and forms part of the frontier of sociology, neuroscience and biology. As such, the Society functions to act as a platform for exposure to, and education on, issues related to psychiatry. This includes the discussion of clinical cases, new and novel trends in scientific research, and noteworthy developments and occurrences in the general field. Taken together, these aims intend to stimulate an interest in mental health among the student body, to highlight the importance of holistic practice, and to contribute to our understanding of mental health in the South African context.

In 2017, we look forward to broadening our relationships with other UCT societies. We wish to thank the Student Health and Welfare Centres Organization (SHAWCO), in particular, for their continued support and collaboration. We furthermore express great interest in fostering joint initiatives with those involved in SHAWCO’s programs and services related to mental health. , we also aim to provide a basic introduction together with broad exposure to Psychiatry and related fields for preclinical students, and to assist with the refinement of psychiatric clinical skills for those in their senior and/or clinical years of study. Similarly, the Society acts as a hub for the instigation of relationships between students and clinicians/researchers, and to provide student members with highly tailored shadowing opportunities. We therefore encourage UCT staff involved with projects, programs or activities which might benefit our members to contact our committee. Please feel free to get in touch: president.psychsoc@gmail.com .