THE SOUTH AFRICAN Union of Students in partnership with Youth development initiative Grades and Levels SA, launched the National Student Mental Health Awareness Programme.
The programme is aimed at helping students who experience mental issues at tertiary level throughout the country. South Africa features on the list that has the highest youth suicidal rate- globally.
To try and curb this alarming phenomenon Grades and Levels SA will provide a 24/7 free counselling hotline, in partnership with other higher education facilities.
At the media brief held at the Grades and Levels SA head office in Randburg on Thursday, most of the Students Representatives Council members, also highlighted the question of confidentiality, stating that the result of mental instability experienced by their peers was lack of trust students have towards counsellors and so on.
Disturbingly, the World Health Organisation, points out that 800,000 young people commit suicide worldwide each year.
Most affected are students from universities, colleges, TVT’s and youth’s in communities we live in.
The head office will also serve as a call center that will be manned by graduates, clinical psychologists, nurses and other stakeholders.
According to SAUS President, Misheck Mugabe (unconfirmed if related to ex- Zim pres Robert Mugabe) this initiative will help to address this unfortunate issue of mental health experienced by students and youth’s nationally, particularly the LGBT community.
“We want to have offices across the province and we’re in the process of hiring 100 employees who are going to be part of this call centre. They will be trained and employed in the next 30 days,” says Clinical Psychologist and Grades & Levels SA member Mthetho Tshemese.
Most of the cases I’ve attended to has to with females and first year students, who are under pressure to perform, experience peer pressure from friends and in some cases- others has to do with family background, says the dread-locked Tshemese.
The toll free number will be provided and shared with other platforms such as radio campuses nationally.