Assoc. Prof Simone Honikman
Simone has a medical degree and an MPhil in Maternal and Child Health from the University of Cape Town (UCT). She has worked as a medical officer in psychiatry, paediatrics, obstetrics and gynaecology and HIV medicine. In 2002, she founded the Perinatal Mental Health Project, currently located within the Alan J Flisher Centre for Public Mental Health, Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health at UCT. She has collaborated in several global mental health research consortia and has published journal papers and book chapters on maternal mental health. Simone writes policy documents and guidelines, engages in advocacy work and multi-media resource development for maternal mental health in low resource settings. She conducts trainings and develops capacity building resources for a wide range of service providers and organisations. She offers executive oversight of an integrated and comprehensive mental health service model that operates at a community-based midwife unit in Cape Town. She is actively involved with the International Marcé Society for Perinatal Mental Health, the Global Alliance for Maternal Mental Health and the African Alliance for Maternal Mental Health and has contributed to several World Health Organisation initiatives.
Emma has an educational background having completed an M.Ed, and has been an ECD and Foundation Phase teacher in both mainstream and special schools. She is fluent in South African Sign Language and has taught in three schools for the Deaf. She completed a PhD through UCT’s Graduate School of Business looking at the employment experiences of 72 people with a wide range of disabilities. She is passionate about inclusive education, having worked with parents, teachers and communities throughout South Africa, Madagascar, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia and Namibia where she has conducted research, evaluated projects, and developed and run training programs. She has also been an inclusive education lecturer at three universities working with teacher training students. As a disabled female, she is passionate about awareness, education and research into education, employment and lived experiences of disabled people. Emma is involved in a number of projects including being the Disability Ambassador for Parkrun South Africa, being on the Global Parkrun Research Board, South African Disability Trust, and Milk Matters.
Thanya joined the PMHP team in 2016 as an Administrative Assistant. She holds a diploma in Office and Business Administration from Montrose Business College and an undergraduate degree in psychology from the South African College of Applied Psychology.
In 2022, she was appointed as Operations Coordinator and is responsible for the administrative management of all PMHP focus areas.
Liesl joined the PMHP in October 2011 as part of the Hanover Park research team, having completed her psychology internship in Hanover Park through CASE (Community Action towards a Safer Environment). She holds an Honours degree in Psychology (2007) from the University of the Western Cape and is an HPCSA registered counsellor. From 2007 to 2010, Liesl served as a counsellor at the National Responsible Gambling Programme providing support to people with gambling problems and their family members. She was a school counsellor at St Anthony’s Primary School before joining the PMHP. Returning to work in the community of Hanover Park after her internship placement appealed to Liesl, and her familiarity with the particular challenges faced by this community adds enormous value to the PMHP study located here. Liesl is a Capetonian and has a son.
Tyla graduated with her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, in 2020. She is originally from Johannesburg, she relocated to Cape Town to pursue her studies. She has a keen interest in working with intergenerational trauma and community psychology. Mental health care provision in underserved communities is a passion of hers as well as advocating for social change. Working with families through the Perinatal Mental Health Project is important to her as she is focused on empowering the family system.
Justine (MA Clin Psych, UCT) is a clinical psychologist who has worked in private practice in Cape Town for 17 years. When she first qualified, she worked at The Trauma Center for Survivors of Violence and Torture, and then in the NHS in Scotland in primary mental health care. She has been a co-director of The Institute for Mindfulness in South Africa and of The Compassionate Birth Project. Her special interest is in perinatal mental health, and she has been associated with The Perinatal Mental Health Project first as a volunteer counsellor and then as a clinical supervisor since 2007. Justine values the unique opportunity of supporting parents and their infants to find more secure ways of relating and attaching, and the impact this has on transforming individuals, families and their communities.
Sally Field completed a BA in Psychology and Sociology at the University of Cape Town and an Honours Degree in Psychology at Rhodes University. She obtained an MA in Video for Development through the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom, focusing on participatory practices for development. Her experiences range from film-making to advocacy and development work in rural Sri Lanka. Sally joined the PMHP as Project Coordinator in 2005, responsible for overall coordination and management of the Project’s four programmes. With a particular interest in health systems development, she designed PMHP’s service development and implementation protocols, as well as its rigorous monitoring, evaluation and data management frameworks.
Sally resigned in April 2022, but continues to support the PMHP as a consultant.
Siphumelele (Lele) Sigwebela
Lele graduated with her BA in Psychology, English, and Chinese Studies from Rhodes University. She completed her Psychology honours at UCT and is currently completing her Master’s in research psychology at the Department of Psychology at UCT. Lele was the Perinatal Mental Health Project research officer for three years and is currently serving as a research consultant. Lele’s research is focused on neurocognition and technology. Her interest lies in public mental health, adolescent well-being, and digital health solutions related to women’s rights and access to health.
Lea Ann Pileggi
Lea-Ann completed her PhD in Psychology at the University of Cape Town, and is a registered Neuropsychologist based at Stone Village Wellness in Lakeside. She has taught at UCT for the past 10 years, specialising in teaching Research Design, Psychometrics, Statistics, and Neuropsychology. She joined the PMHP as Research Consultant in 2022, where she is involved at the design and as well as the statistical analysis stages of projects.
Service Site Maintenence
Godfrey is responsible for the garden at our Hanover Park service site. He has built and loved our garden since it was a sand pit at the launch in 2012. Since then, the garden has become a favourite among the nurses and staff for their lunch breaks. Godfrey has lived all his life in Hanover Park and is very active in his community.
Kristien van der Walt
Kristien van der Walt (MBChB, UCT) is a junior doctor currently completing her community service year at Tonga Hospital, Mpumalanga. She has a broad interest in mental health research, from neuroscience to public health. She was drawn to the Perinatal Mental Health Project because ‘of your research-driven approach, and the potential scale of impact your interventions can have on family and community over a lifetime’. Kristien will be volunteering her time to work on streamlining PMHP’s data collection system for our support service, and on updating resources for service providers based on latest evidence.
Lungile holds a Bachelor of Nursing Degree from the University of the Witwatersrand, qualifying as a midwife, community and psychiatric nurse. She has experience working in a rural primary healthcare clinic as well as in civil society - advocating for the equitable access of quality healthcare in rural areas. She is passionate about maternal mental health and child health especially as it relates to the first 1000 days of life. Inherently altruistic, she believes that healthy families lead to healthy nations. She will be using her skills to help create a birth preparation pamphlet for mothers.