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Women’s Month: Cassandra Zeta Carels


By professional I have a dual registration with the HPCSA as a Research Psychologist and Registered Counsellor. I am currently employed as a Schools Manager at School of Hard Knocks, a mental health organisation that uses touch rugby to address issues young people face. I manage the programme and school relationships.

Firstly my children, they are my reasons to succeed. Secondly, every young person. While young people are still marginalised, my work is not done.

Lucinda Evans, director of Philisa Abafazi Bethu. She is a dynamic women of colour, which aim to protecting and empowering abused women and children. Lucinda will stop at nothing to make sure that the women and children of Lavender Hill have a place that offers them hope in their often intolerable situations. I have a dream to empowering adolescents to rising above their circumstances by addressing their mental health through sport.

This is a very compound question. Boys in sport is promoted from a very young age in primary school, high school and at professional level. At most public schools only netball is offered at schools for girls, or ballet. More resources is placed in the boys sports, while this is developing at your more affluent schools, this still has a long way to go. Boys are trained in the anticipation of going “pro” one day, while girls in sport are treated as a pass time.

Secondly, parents are also seen as a barrier. Parents will push and encourage their boy child in sport more so than their girl counterparts. Given this notion of boys sports are more important, girls and women tend to then later become their own barriers. I have been at the rugby field, where my daughter has not missed one training session, yet in over 6 months they have only had a full squad about 4 times. Whereas their male counterparts had full squads week after week. 

Value and support women’s sporting codes more but investing time into women’s leagues, being more vocal about women’s sports.

You need to ask for help when you need it, not when you left with no other choice.

Time invested on the field will take you very far. If you not going to put in the hours in practice you won’t get very far.

People are always going to have something to say or laugh, do it anyway!

To have sport used and recognised in mainstream mental health intervention at a secondary school level. While there are many organisations that do this, there are still pitfalls in their interventions as mainstream psychology still uses traditional methods of intervention. 



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