Located in New York City, Yalda Safai MD, MPH, is a leading psychiatrist who specializes in High Functioning Depression.
Safai completed her undergraduate degree in Psychobiology from the University of California Los Angeles. She then completed a Master’s in Public Health and her medical degree to pursue a career in global mental health. Next, Safai took on a dual MD, MPH program at St. George’s School of Medicine. And, finally, she did her residency training at New York Medical College. Clearly, Safai excels in any aspect of mental and public health she takes on.
Though she is not just an accomplished scholar, Safai’s professional career has been equally, if not more fruitful than her academic career. She currently resides in New York City and contributes to ABC News Medical Unit, focusing on delivering accurate medical information to the general public.
Safai describes herself as durable, adaptable, and easy to work with. She has numerous years of volunteer experience setting up medical clinics in rural areas, providing medical attention, and teaching healthcare to school-aged children in the United States, Central America, Indonesia, and Thailand.
Safai’s inspiration for working in mental health comes from what she describes as, “The tremendous need for mental health providers is what initially sparked my interest. The lack of care due to the stigma surrounding mental illness made me want to dedicate my life to the field.”
Additionally, Safai goes on to explain that “my passion is to shatter mental illness stigma, increase awareness, advance public health literacy and change the public health’s perception of mental illness by being a good advocate for my patients. Health literacy is extremely important and that’s why I think the media has a strong influence in shaping literacy/changing perspectives and that’s why I want to be a voice in the media.”
Her focus within the mental health sphere is on High Functioning Depression in adults. Safai explains, “I’m going to be focusing on high-functioning depression as my main specialty. It is the depression that professionals such as you and I often battle in silence. It’s incredibly hard to treat and difficult to spot as the patients are high functioning and don’t appear as though they are suffering/are not believed when they disclose their struggles to family/friends/coworkers. In addition, high functioning individuals often suffer from stigma most, as oftentimes in the workplace, mental illness is regarded as weak so often the sufferers go untreated and misunderstood. There is also no good treatment at this time for this class of individuals so I want to dedicate my time to making life a bit easier for them.”
Safai continues, “in addition, high functioning individuals often suffer from stigma the most, as oftentimes in the workplace, mental illness is regarded as weak so the sufferers can go untreated and misunderstood for years. There is also no good treatment at this time for this class of individuals so I want to dedicate my time to making life a bit easier for them.”
“We live in a society that equates busy with important, awards accomplishments and is obsessed with achievement. A society that has made us believe we must justify our existence with contributions, achievements, and productivity,” Dr. Safai stated in a recent article. “We punish ourselves for not accomplishing what we think we should as quickly as we should. We become depressed when we fail, anxious when we quit, and guilt-ridden when we don’t try.”
Her work and choices of specialty make Safai all the more admirable of mental health professional. We cannot wait to see where life takes such an already accomplished woman.