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Alan J Flisher CPMH Seminar: Depression and risky behaviours…

The CPMH’s seminar programme is an opportunity to share on-going work and invite broader participation in the Centre.

On 3 May 2022 the Alan J Flisher Centre for Public Mental Health hosted a seminar by Julia Ruiz Pozuelo. She is a doctoral student in psychiatry and a researcher at the Centre for the Study of African Economies at the University of Oxford. Her background is in economics, with a focus on development economics.

Julia’s main research interest is on the relationship between depression, poverty, and risky behaviours among adolescents in low- and middle-income countries. Alongside her DPhil, she collaborates with a multidisciplinary group of psychologists, psychiatrists, neuroscientists and development economists to develop a digital intervention for adolescents with depression living in low-resource settings.

Prior to commencing her doctoral studies, Julia studied economics at Carlos III University of Madrid and at UC Berkeley and holds an MSc in Economics for Development from the University of Oxford. In between her studies, she worked as a Research Analyst at The Brookings Institution in Washington D.C.


Depressive symptoms and risky behaviours commonly co-occur and represent two important, but often overlooked, public health concerns. This comorbidity is particularly important during adolescence, a period marked by a rise in risky behaviours such as unsafe sex and binge drinking and when the incidence of depression peaks. This combination may lead to further psychological and physical health problems over the life course, and high economic costs to society.

Adolescents who grow up in low-resource settings face even greater challenges, as few receive any minimally adequate treatment for depression, and access to health promotion programmes such as rehabilitation programmes or peer support groups also remains limited.

In this seminar Julia will discuss key findings from a series of papers exploring the relationship between depression and risky behaviours among adolescents in low- and middle-income countries.

Please view the presentation below

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Depression and risky behaviours among adolescents in low- and middle-income countries

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Liesl Hermanus dedicates Global Citizenship Award to ‘formidable’ team

In recognition of her outstanding work in service of pregnant women and new mothers in the Cape Flats community, Liesl Hermanus (clinical services coordinator at the Perinatal Mental Health Project at the Hanover Park Midwife Obstetrics Unit) was named the deserving recipient of the 2021 University of Cape Town Vice-Chancellor’s Global Citizenship Award.

The award recognises members of the UCT community who have demonstrated excellence in living out the UCT mission through areas of service, the pursuit of knowledge, the dignity of the human being and contributions to the common good.

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