UFH Counselling Psychologist delivers key address during Parliamentary discussion on Women and Gender Rights

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Ms Thobeka Msengana

Earlier today, Ms Thobeka Msengana, UFH Counselling Psychologist and head of the Student Counselling Unit (SCU) delivered a keynote address during a webinar hosted by The Parliamentary Women and Gender Rights Forum.

The session held online took a closer look at the impact of workplace harassment and bullying on mental health and wellness.

Other key speakers included Gita Maharaj, Absa Group Head for Culture and Transformation and Tabea Kabinde, Chairperson: Employment Equity at the Department of Labour.

Ms Msengana’s presentation was centred on workplace bullying. According to her, the physical effects of workplace bullying can be devastating.

“Even if the bully does not physically harm the victim, the effects on the victim’s productivity can lead to physical deficiencies. This leads to lack of sleep and focus, which in the long run affects their performance in the office.”

“In extreme cases, if not given immediate counselling or help, the victim may also resort to self-harm which has far more concerning effects and outcomes not just to the victim but even to other people involved,” she explained.

Msengana further explained that it is not only the victim’s physical well-being that is harmed through workplace bullying but also their mental health.

“It may not appear as obvious but workplace bullying has a lot to do with mental health. As bullying is closely linked with psychological harassment and violence, the impact on their mental well-being can be as severe as physical violence,” said Msengana.

As such, Ms Msengana recommended that all organisations should develop an anti-bullying policy to assist in the elimination of bullying in the workplace.

“Policy should educate employees and provide appropriate and consistent procedures to deal with bullying and prevent its recurrence,” she stated.

In concluding her address, Ms Msengana appealed to employers and employees to take responsibility and make it their duty to create and maintain a safe and healthy work environment.

Here at UFH, under her leadership, the SCU has developed and runs several programmes that seek to promote the mental, physical and psychological wellbeing of students and staff. These programmes include Res Talks, discussions on mental health and activities to promote physical wellbeing.