Prof Mayosi’s death puts spotlight on depression

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A Cape Town-based clinical psychologist has urged those who are suffering from depression to seek help – amid news that acclaimed Professor Bongani Mayosi took his own life.

Mayosi’s family say the University of Cape Town (UCT) Dean of Health Sciences had been battling depression. Mayosi, who was 51 ,had been awarded the county’s highest honour, the Order of Mapungubwe in 2009.

Psychologist, Dr Shahieda Carlie-Abrahams says even people who appear accomplished or successful can be secretly suffering from depression.

Carlie-Abrahams says people should look out for changes in behaviour, such as constant irritability or aggression. She says other symptoms are insomnia, weight gain or loss and low energy levels.

“There’s a triad of depression – where it is how you perceive yourself, you perceive others and what is happening. Are they feeling like “I can’t do this anymore?” or “this is becoming too much… I’m failing in, or I’m disappointing people.” You start developing a perception of people that’s negative. So, then you look at your outcomes. You don’t see a positive outcome.”