Fort Hare and Higher Health put students’ wellbeing at the fore

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The UFH Students Counselling Unit (SCU) in conjunction with Higher Health launched a Wellness Leaders Project with a particular focus on mental health. The project is aimed at improving students’ wellbeing.

The launch was held on the 10th of May at the Student Centre on the Alice Campus.

SCU Head, Ms Thobeka Msengana urged students to take the lead and own interventions needed for their wellbeing. “We need to reimagine mental health and place students at the centre”.

The Director of Programmes at Higher Health, Ms Thobekile Finger highlighted the importance of involving students’ in matters that concern students. “Nothing about us outside us. Mental health issues should always be located within the local context so that we get relevant solutions to it,” she said.

She mentioned some contributing factors such as religious and cultural issues and beliefs such as “men do not cry”, power dynamics and the transition from home to the university that could talk to dependency syndrome - sugar daddy issues.

Dr Mariana Oelofsen from the UFH GBV Prevention Unit encouraged students and staff to work together against the culture and scourge of violence. She called on all to stand for what is right and report all forms of violence to the unit making use of the contact number that is available 24/7.

“We should all strive towards wellness, people should always be happy,” The Vice-Chancellor, Prof Sakhela Buhlungu pointed. He also encouraged students to part take in the small group programmes at residence level and called on the bridging of generational gaps between young and old. The VC also acknowledged the roles that parents at home and university authorities should play to ensure the wellbeing of students.

By Mawande Mrashula