Desiree-Anne Martin | Inspirational Speaker | Mental Wellness

Desiree-Anne Martin

Desiree-Anne Martin believes in the inherent ability of anyone to change. Her mantra is that there is hope, always, and she is a Change Catalyst and Inspirational Speaker.

Desiree-Anne is a prize-winning published author and poet. Her writing on racial identification, GBV, the myths of parenthood, sex and feminism has appeared in numerous print anthologies and corporate annuals. Her self-published poetry book/ journal ‘believe more deeply’, print journals, e-zines and poetry websites are home to several of her poems.

Her memoir ‘We Don’t Talk About It. Ever’ has been described by Barbara Boswell, acclaimed academic and award-winning author of ‘Grace: A Novel’ as “brilliantly-written and wrenching… whose prose transports you through a whirlwind of emotions”.

It chronicles Desiree-Anne’s life struggles, including childhood sexual abuse, family dysfunction, multiple addictions, toxic relationships, struggles in recovery, and mental health concerns.

This led her to become an intravenous heroin addict and sex worker. It is ultimately, however, a story of redemption, resilience and hope. She has now garnered over 17 years of sobriety.

Desiree-Anne obtained her Postgraduate Diploma in Addiction Care (with Honours) from the University of Cape Town in 2019, at the age of 42, with no undergraduate degree and obtaining admission on Recognition of Prior Learning.

She has gone on to become a Supervisor for students undertaking their MA in Creative Writing at the University of Cape Town, offering guidance and support with the process of writing and completion of their final dissertation.

Desiree-Anne Martin | Inspirational Speaker | Mental Wellness

She is an addiction, mental health and trauma-informed counsellor, and works together with adults and adolescents to help them overcome drug and alcohol dependence, eating disorders, sex, gambling and other self-defeating behaviours for the past 14 years.

Working with family members affected by addiction too, as no lives are ever left untouched by the illness.

Desiree-Anne also helps individuals work through trauma associated with physical, sexual and emotional abuse. She also imparts skills for how to deal with intense emotions, high levels of stress and a variety of mental illnesses.

She is the co-founder of The I AM Collective, a South African non-profit that is actively contributing to changing the narrative around gender-based violence.

Desiree is  also member of the Life Righting Collective, an NPO whose vision is to heal South Africa’s fractured past through the writing and sharing of personal stories.

She has been an Industry Mentor for the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation since 2020.

As the director of her own company and a group practice, a lecturer, workshop facilitator, wife, full-time mother and part-time warrior woman, Desiree-Anne would like to share with you what she has learnt about building resilience and transforming adversity into opportunity and purpose.

She would like to show you how to unveil your unshakeable truth, find your authentic voice and speak your truth. She would like to show you that there is no failure in asking for help and no shame in showing vulnerability.

Desiree-Anne offers follow-up Corporate Wellness packages that are tailor-made to suit the needs of any organisation’s employees, including individual counselling and interventions, stress and emotional management, education around addiction, mental illness and trauma as well as support, and access to ongoing group or individual therapy.

She is also available to address high school learners and offers workshops on issues such as healthy versus unhealthy relationships, boundaries, high-risk behaviours and sexual consent.

Desiree-Anne Martin is a vocal advocate for the destigmatization of addiction, trauma and mental illness. She believes that everyone is impacted in some way by one or more of these issues. She wants you to know that help is available. Sometimes it finds you.

Desiree-Anne Martin | Inspirational Speaker | Mental Wellness



Desiree-Anne Martin


Desiree-Anne Martin is such a dynamic, engaging speaker that we at Cedar House felt incredibly privileged to have at our school assembly on Wednesday, the 10th of April 2019.

Her keynote presentation was so received by our students as the content truly resonated with them. As she shared so openly and honestly about how she has navigated life’s challenges as well as the mental and addiction crisis we face today, our students were made to feel comfortable enough to ask some deep and vulnerable questions.

Desiree has an amazing ability to connect with her audience and to stay connected for the duration of her presentation. Her story was powerful and her authenticity was raw and cut through all economic and social status.

Her drive home message encouraged each and every one of us to embrace our unique story that has molded and shaped us into the person we are today. After her presentation, Desiree made herself available for individual conversations and a chance for our students to experience her sincere kindness.

We genuinely thank her for the gifts and life lessons she shared with us and we look forward to having her speak at Cedar House again soon.”

Simone Sangster, Social Worker, Cedar House Student Wellness Department.

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