My Brain Matters

Wed Oct 28, 08:00 - Wed Oct 28, 16:30
Brescia House School


“My Brain Matters” is an event for: Mental Health Professionals, School Councillors, Educators, School Heads and Parents. Over the course of the day, Mental Health Practitioners will breakdown the notion of mental well-being: The impact of IT in a child’s world.

7:00 - 8:00       Registration

8:00 - 8:15       Introduction and Welcome

8:15 - 9:15       Guest Speaker

9:15 - 10:15     Guest Speaker

10:15 - 10:45   Tea

10:45 - 11:45   Guest Speaker

11:45 - 12:45   Guest Speaker

12:45 - 13:30   Lunch

13:30 - 14:30   Guest Speaker

14:30 - 16:15   Interactive Panel Discussion - “The impact of IT on mental health” (with specific relevance to children in school settings).

16:15 - 16:30   Close


Nicola Arend

Nicola holds three degrees which include a Bachelor’s Degree (Psychology & Criminology) (SA) and B. Psych Honours Degree (SA) . Her Master of Science degree in Forensic Psychology and Criminal Investigation was obtained in the United Kingdom (University of Liverpool) and provides her with globally recognised expert knowledge in this field. This Master of Science degree is wholly focused on the psychology of crime, including sexual and violent crimes perpetrated both against and by children and adults, interviewing distressed children and adults, psychology of the courts, eyewitnesses and testimony, victim experiences, police command and controlled decision-making, risk assessment of offenders and treatment development, psychopathology of the offender, false confessions and profiling offenders. Since 2003, she has worked within the South African justice system which began at the Teddy Bear Clinic (forensic clinic for abused children) in Johannesburg for seven years, as well as for the duration of 2009 fulfilling an internship at Leeukop Prison (incarcerated juvenile and adult offenders) and Weskoppies Psychiatric Hospital (children’s ward). From 2009 to 2018, she worked part-time with the South African Police Services victim empowerment units (counselling and assessing child and adult victims of serious crime and later supervising postgraduate psychology students during their internships) and lectured undergraduate psychology students. Her work extended into a private practice, where she assists clients who in some way, reluctantly, need to interact with the justice system. She has recently recommenced consulting part-time to the Teddy Bear Clinic as a forensic assessor of child victims of crime and their families.

Dr Claire Lownie

Dr Lownie graduated with her medical degree (MBBCh) from Wits University in 2003. Thereafter Dr Lownie was diagnosed with a form of cancer which carries a prognosis of less than 20% chance of 5-year survival. As a result of the treatments and surgeries which she had to undergo, working in clinical medicine was almost impossible and so Dr Lownie worked for several years as a clinical trial coordinator, research programme manager and ultimately became the Trauma Programme Manager at Netcare Milpark Hospital. During this period, she completed a Master of Science in Emergency Medicine degree (MSc Med Emergency Medicine) and got clinical experience working in various private Emergency Departments in Johannesburg.

In 2012 Dr Lownie left Netcare to work for a few months in a corporate pharmaceutical environment. It was this experience combined with her personal experiences with cancer which piqued her interest in the field of Psychiatry and mental health.

She subsequently completed her specialist training in the Department of Psychiatry at Wits University which includes working in many of the different general and psychiatric hospitals in the Gauteng area. She obtained her specialist fellowship (FC Psych SA) through the Colleges of Medicine of South Africa in May 2018.

Dr Lownie is currently working in private practice in the Bryanston area and treats a variety of mental illnesses. She is also passionate about working with children and adolescents in order to optimise the mental, emotional and physical health of children. It is her belief that identifying a person’s mental strengths and challenges and with the correct care, support and consideration of each individual, true leaders can be created.

Dr Shaheda Omar

Dr Shaheda Omar is Director of The Teddy Bear Clinic for Abused Children. With more than 30 years’ experience in the field, Shaheda has been with The Teddy Bear Clinic for 16 years. She developed the Diversion Programme for young sex offenders, which is hailed as the most progressive programme on the continent. She is the author of the diversion handbook ‘Children who sexually abuse other children’ and has presented at numerous national and international conferences, workshops and training sessions on sexual abuse. Dr Omar won Business Woman of the year award in 2017 in the Social Entrepreneur category. In 2019 she won a number of other awards including Influential Women of the Year 2019, South African Healthcare Leadership Award 2019 – women leadership and the South African Healthcare Leadership Award for Best Social Initiative.

Shaheda serves on various boards, including Nkosi’s Haven; Muslim AIDS Programme; Arepp, Theatre for Life; and the Johannesburg Institute for Social Services. She also volunteers as a counsellor at the Parktown convent and AIDS clinic in Hillbrow, amongst others. She has a BA Social Work (Hons), a Masters in Mental Health, diploma in Marriage Guidance & Counselling and Forensic Assessment of child victims of abuse, and has completed a doctoral thesis on young sex offenders. Dr Omar is consulted both locally and internationally on a very wide variety of child related psycho-social matters.


My Brain Matters
Brescia House School
14 Sloane St, Bryanston, Sandton, 2191, South Africa
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