Why did you choose your particular specialty?
My father is a practising adult psychiatrist and, like most children, I was fascinated to see what he did at work. I always knew I wanted to be a doctor and spent the summer before medical school working as a healthcare assistant in a psychiatric hospital. I loved it and knew that I was likely to end up in this speciality.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
The access I get into people’s lives is a real privilege; it also comes with a great sense of responsibility and it is a challenge I thrive on. I also love being able to work in such a range of settings, including hospitals, my patients’ homes, prisons and detention centres.
What one thing do you wish every member of the public knew?
Mental ill health is not a sign of weakness or some sort of character flaw. It is no different to having any other long-term condition such as diabetes or hypertension; it is just something that happens to some people and it is not their fault.
What three traits define you?
I have a “can-do” attitude, I try my best to honour my word and I am sincere with my patients.
Who is your inspiration?
Definitely my father, whom I am constantly reminded is an excellent psychiatrist.
What accomplishment in your life are you most proud of?
I have been trustee of a charity, the Camden Spear Trust, for 3 years. It helps 16-24 year olds get into, and stay in, employment and we have raised over £300,000. I have benefitted a lot from mentoring and have fantastic support systems in my own career so it is important to give back and help those with less opportunities.
If you could do another job for just one day, what would it be?
I am passionate about sports and the only other thing I wanted to do in my life was to become a sports writer.
What advances in medicine are you most excited about?
I am really interested to see what the health tech boom’s impact on mental health will be. There are lots of interesting ideas out there, but I want to see what the big ‘game changer’ will be. There are not enough psychiatrists around the world, so the more help we can get through the use of technology the better.
What (health) app would you most recommend?
Psychiatry UK is an online platform connecting patients with psychiatrists through online consultations. There are lots of reasons why patients may not want face-to-face appointments and I have seen patients on this platform. Online medicine has a big future and it is exciting to be part of it.
Read Dr Chi-Chi Obuaya’s latest article on bipolar disorder.