During the month of June, the College of Health Science’s Public Relations team introduced a campaign to encourage staff and students to “Celebrate You”.
During the month, a number of thought-provoking webinars on topics envisaged to provide one with tools to navigate through life’s challenges are on offer.
According to CHS Public Relations Manager, Ms MaryAnn Francis, the campaign was created due to the many challenges staff and students face. She said, ‘As a world, we’ve just emerged from a pandemic that has changed our lives forever. The devastating effects of the pandemic have decimated jobs, placing livelihoods at risk whilst the millions of lives lost have uprooted families and left many in despair.
‘Furthermore, in KwaZulu-Natal we suffered devastating losses as a result of floods and tremendous fear and anxiety during the looting. All of these challenges resulted in isolation and loneliness, job loss and financial instability, illness and grief which have had a profound impact on one’s mental health. Globally, three years after the pandemic, statistics indicate that there is a sharp rise in mental health conditions, substance abuse and suicide. We hope that this campaign is the start of many more that encourage our staff and students to be the best that they can be and to celebrate just being “you”.’
In partnership with the South African Depression and Anxiety Group, Student Support Services within the College of Law and Management Studies, private psychologists, UKZN’s Legal Services and Higher Education Resource Services-South Africa (HERS-SA), a number of webinars are being offered covering the following topics: Identifying and Managing Depression and Anxiety; Suicide Awareness; Gender-Based Violence; Substance Use and Abuse; Self-Love; and Bullying in South African Universities.
Feedback from attendees has been positive and indicates the need for these types of programmes at UKZN. The campaign has received positive reviews received via evaluation surveys, with some respondents saying that the webinars have reminded them to take better care of themselves.
Words: Nombuso Dlamini