Reducing the stigma – Dr Fapohunda is our NHS Hero

After being encouraged by her parents to study medicine from a young age, Dr Mosun Fapohunda’s desire to help people grew as she became older, through extensive reading and her studies at university.

Now working as a consultant psychiatrist at Dudley and Walsall Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust (DWMH), Dr Fapohunda, who lives in Edgbaston, works with a variety of professionals in different specialisms, to help support patients with mental health issues in their recovery journeys.

“In my role, I’m based at different sites across Dudley and I cover the Sedgley and Gornal areas. I work with our inpatients at Bushey Fields Hospital, and also run a variety of clinics including one based at Ladies Walk Centre, so that we can take services out to people.

“I have worked in the NHS since 2003 and I’ve always worked in healthcare. My parents always commented on how I was a caring and loving child, so they encouraged me to take up a career where I would be helping people,” continued Dr Fapohunda.

Dr Fapohunda attended medical school at the University of Benin in Nigeria, and then continued on to her postgraduate studies in psychiatry in the UK.

“I felt there was a lot of stigma around mental health – I wanted to support people and encourage them to speak to someone in the early stages. This is still very important to me now, especially focusing on minority groups,” she said.

A typical day for Dr Fapohunda involves offering support to patients, whether that is in the form of a treatment plan, or providing reassurance that it’s ok to have a mental issue, and most importantly making it clear that there is no judgement. She will decipher whether psychological or pharmacological treatment is needed; which may mean admission to hospital or signposting to other services. Alongside this, she is also responsible for assisting medical doctors within the team.

“I try to educate the general population about mental health – I believe this is so important, whether I’m at work or not,” added Dr Fapohunda.

Dr Fapohunda is interested in teaching and training the next generation of psychiatrists; she is a General Medical Council (GMC) associate, which means that she offers her expertise to help improve practice and education in healthcare, acting as an examiner and also supporting international medical graduates.

“I also support the Royal College of Psychiatrists with medical training initiatives – I take pride in these roles and they are definitely highlights of my career!”

She always puts patient care at the forefront of her work, including working as clinical lead for MERIT Vanguard, where a shared electronic healthcare record and collaborative bed management system was introduced within DWMH and three surrounding trusts. She is also Chair of the Medical Advisory Committee at DWMH, ensuring that the medical workforce is well engaged, making use of their experience, knowledge and expertise, to benefit service delivery and patient care.

Outside of work, Dr Fapohunda enjoys reading, travelling and singing, but her favourite way to spend her time is with her husband and four children.

So who is Dr Fapohunda’s hero?

“Patients, for their courage and determination, families and carers for their devotion to supporting loved ones, and all dedicated health professionals.”

Dr Fapohunda’s mental health message: “It’s ok to speak up.”