Dr Adrian Falkov left South Africa in the mid 80s after completing his medical training at Wits. He moved to London where he was introduced to the NHS, a health system accessible to all and free at the point of delivery. He completed his postgraduate training in Psychiatry and worked at Guys, St Thomas and Maudsley Hospitals, specialising in child and adolescent mental health. His early research was on the impact of parental mental illness on children. After running a department for several years, he moved to Sydney in 2002 where he is now a senior staff specialist at the Royal North Shore Hospital and in private practice. He is kept permanently on my toes by his four daughters!
Over the years Adrian has worked in mental health policy, research and administrative positions but has always been most inspired working directly with young people and their families. Mental illness, parenting and children’s development are strongly connected. As a clinician he observed the crucial influence of ill-health on family life. When an individual, regardless of age, experiences ill-health, everyone in the family is affected. In turn, family members play a vital role in the affected person’s illness course and prognosis. These reciprocal relationships and influences between family members are insufficiently incorporated into existing healthcare systems and services.
He has enjoyed the challenge of improving family focused practice and helping to design and deliver services which incorporate the individual’s symptoms as well as key relationship influences. One example he has developed is called The Family Model, an approach which helps professionals, policymakers and family members themselves to better understand and appreciate the interplay between their symptoms and their relationships. Anyone interested can go to www.thefamilymodel.com.
He believes that it is important to acknowledge the global pandemic that has impacted so many. The need for advocacy and support for healthcare workers and for overwhelmed health systems is critical. The need for broad responses to the epidemic of mental health difficulties, including suicides in young people, is more urgent than ever.
“KDVP provided me with a great bundle of life skills. Enduring friendships, the value of learning and learning to question, curiosity and community. What the Victory Park community lacked in size it made up for in spirit.
And of course, it provided a lifetime of memories. From ‘salvete discipuli’ (Mrs. Wolf) to ‘get the F out of my class’ (this inspirational teacher shall remain nameless) to Mrs. Paton (‘this is not in the curriculum but it is important’), to the resounding crack as I broke Mike Pincus's left tibia at the start of rugby season training. And of course, Mr. Sherman informing us ‘illiterates’ when to laugh while he read Shakespeare”