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I love people and will always listen

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Bongi Nayo

Mental health is one of the most important subjects of our time, but it doesn’t get as much attention as it deserves. Whether we seek help for ourselves or enable others to do so, we can all make a real difference. As a pharmaceutical company, we are committed to addressing mental health issues through our products, as well as building awareness in our employees and the communities we work in. But it’s our people who breathe life into these endeavors.

One such employee is Bongi Nayo, Medical Representative, in South Africa. She works with the Dr. Reddy’s CNS portfolio and interacts with psychiatrists, neurologists and mental health hospitals. However, Bongi is also a passionate voluntary counsellor, regularly volunteering at her church, a neighborhood hospital and at South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG). She completed her councillors’ course through SADAG in 2018.

“I love people, and will always listen” says Bongi.

With a background in analytical chemistry, Bongi joined Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories about six years ago. In 2018, as part of continued development within Dr. Reddy’s CNS division she and the Synapse team attended a councilor training course through SADAG as part of the training they co-manned the helplines at SADAG to understand the mental health patient journey. This experience led Bongi into perusing deeper knowledge and understanding.   

Today, she’s studying for a degree in counselling psychology and will graduate next June. “I feel like it’s a God-given gift, a calling I need to pursue,” she says.

Recently she came across a case where the patient had a very difficult past history, and blamed herself for her circumstances.  After encouraging her to share more openly and work through their experiences, Bongi referred her to a psychiatrist, and with medication, the patient is now doing very well. “She is writing an autobiography on her life” says Bongi. “It’s her way of healing, finding inner peace”

Of course, not all experiences turn out to be successful. “Sometimes when you speak to someone, you feel like you’re hitting a brick wall no matter what you say,” says Bongi. In such cases, she refers the patient to another counsellor, who may be able to get through to them.

And what about difficult situations faced by, say, members of the LGBTQI community? Or people whose issues posit a conflict between faith and work? “It’s important not to judge anyone,” she says. “I try to understand where that person is coming from and take each case on its own merit. One should deal with the person and not the perceived problem!”

“No matter how big and tough a problem may be, getting rid of confusion by taking one little step towards a solution is how I would like to approach solutions” says Bongi.