Cape Town - Liesl Hermanus didn’t plan to fall pregnant at university. She struggled with the experience. After giving birth, she went through bouts of unexplained tearfulness.
Hermanus couldn’t breastfeed, which provoked extreme anxiety. She felt like a failure. But today, Hermanus understands that as one in three people in South Africa to experience depression or anxiety, mental health issues are nothing to be ashamed of.
Pregnant women in particular are at high risk, which is why she is working to create a safe space for them to speak up and be heard.
As a counsellor with the Perinatal Mental Health Project (PMHP), Hermanus provides support to women and girls who experience emotional distress during and after pregnancy.
She works at the Midwife Obstetrics Unit in Hanover Park, an area where poverty, gender-based violence, and gangsterism are widespread