Groote Schuur Hospital appreciation hero: Misha Naik
Misha Naik, Occupational Therapist at Groote Schuur Hospital (GSH), who specialises in mental health and provides a valuable wellness and psychosocial service to staff in distress, is today’s Appreciation Wednesday hero. The campaign seeks to give appreciation to ordinary heroes who are inspiring others during the COVID-19 pandemic.
What inspires Misha, the 36-year-old mother of two from Claremont, is the fact that she is constantly making a difference in someone’s life, through enabling him or her to speak openly about mental health challenges – which have increased as a result of the pandemic. Untreated mental illness can cause severe emotional, behavioural and physical health problems, and Misha is happy to make her contribution. “I am living the dream in helping out my patients and staff,” says the therapist, who has been in service for 8 years.
She explains that before COVID-19 pandemic she used to work in a clinic with the Occupational Therapy Mental Health Psychiatry Group. When COVID started her clinic closed and she had to adjust her normal role, resulting in her being a fulltime GSH Wellness Therapist. This entails her helping staff with any mental problems they might have and helping them to find a coping mechanism. This includes setting up counselling for departments and individuals in a safe and confidential space. She also collaborates with Metropolitan Health, the Western Cape Government contracted wellness service provider, to assist staff if necessary, during this difficult time.
Misha explains that in terms of ways in which the hospital management has made work environment safer and easier to work at, especially during this time of uncertainty is that there is much increased communication with management and staff in terms of their consulting approach and that there is much more flexibility in working.
It is an anxious time for everyone and not just the hospitals. Misha’s advice to everyone is that it’s okay not to be okay and that there is no shame in reaching out to others getting help. “Support each other, now more than ever, [don’t stigmatised against mental health sufferers], and be more aware of ways of preventing, because by you becoming [more] aware, you’re also helping the next person,” she adds.
The hospital is encouraging people to visit its Heroes of Groote Schuur Hospital Facebook page to leave a message of support to Misha and her colleagues for the wonderful work they are doing in the mental health space.
Groote Schuur Hospital
Cell - 083 412 5608