University of Witwatersrand
Dr Tasneem Hassem, 32, is a psychologist whose speciality is mental health access, focusing on marginalised groups. When she started working in communities, she soon realised that volunteer counsellors could not diagnose and intervene effectively. To help alleviate this problem Tasneem developed an open-access, online screening tool for South Africa that is culturally valid and in use at mddsa.co.za. The tool, which has proved effective, is continuously being tested by the South African Depression and Anxiety Group and the SA Mental Health Federation. Tasneem is credited with the development of the first set of guidelines for the online screening of mental health locally and internationally. Her ground-breaking work on online depression screening has led to further partnerships — she is the Gauteng lead on the South African leg of the Africa All Life Study, multi-country research looking at the development of young adults with regard to sociodemographic and health indicators. “What drives me to excel is knowing that the knowledge I have, and gain, comes with a responsibility. This is to share my knowledge and use this knowledge to benefit my community. Specifically, I am committed to making an impact in society by ensuring equal access to mental health care in South Africa. #No health without mental health,” Tasneem says.
- Doctor in Philosophy, University of the Witwatersrand, 2018 to 2021
- Master of Arts in Psychology by coursework and research report, University of the Witwatersrand, 2014 to 2015
- BSc Honours in Psychology with distinction, University of the Witwatersrand, 2013
- Bachelor of Science, University of the Witwatersrand, 2009 to 2012
- Adapted the first online depression screening tool for the SA context and partnered with Sadag to provide a high/medium-risk tool for telephonic counselling.
- Developed the first set of guidelines internationally for the online screening of mental health.
- Awarded a gold medal in the social science category at the World Youth Invention and Innovation in Indonesia 2022.
- Selected as one of only 40 candidates worldwide to participate in the Emerging Psychologists’ Programme at the International Congress of Psychology in 2020.
- Awarded the Phillip Valentine Tobias Educational Bursary, 2020 to 2021.
- Prospector@Wits Innovation seed fund winner, 2021
- National Research Foundation Freestanding Doctoral Scholarship, for PhD studies.
- University Postgraduate Merit Award for Honours and Masters studies.
Being part of a family who was involved in various community work and always being told we should be of benefit to others in our neighbourhood is what I always hold dear.
Knowing that the knowledge I have, and gain, comes with a responsibility. This is to share my knowledge and use this knowledge to benefit my community. Specifically, I am committed to making an impact in society by ensuring equal access to mental healthcare in South Africa. #No health without mental health.
A country where mental health care is prioritised and individuals have equal access to care.