Invest in Lecturer Wellbeing

Mental Health, Digital Wellness and 

Stress Management Workshop

The State of Mental Health in Higher Education

The drastic interventions to prevent the spread of the Covid virus have posed a direct threat to the successful progression and completion of the 2020 and 2021 academic years.

The mental health of students is often highlighted, but the mental health of South African university and further education personnel has largely been neglected over past few years – and has been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

A survey by the South African Depression and Anxiety Group reported that 65% of participants felt stressed and severely stressed about the spread of coronavirus, finances, relationship problems, job security, grief, gender-based violence and trauma.

There is no question that stress levels on a personal and institutional level have spiked. A study that looked at the mental health of institutional staff in the Eastern Cape showed one-third of staff members reported non-specific mild-to-severe psychological distress after level 4 lockdown. This is some insight into where staff in the education sector are finding themselves.

Addressing These Challenges

According to a general study, university employees experienced the pandemic in three phases: 

1) Uncertainty and instability, demanding an adjustment to the work context; 2) Fatigue, characterised by new realities and new fears; and 3) Re-opening, generating new feelings of uncertainty amongst staff members.

Keeping these challenges that institutions, and specifically staff, are facing in mind, we have developed a workshop tackling these issues. Our Lecturer mental & digital wellness and stress management workshop offers professional development opportunities, with self-care and coping skills as key focus areas.  

Source: R.L. van Niekerk and M.M. van Gent. Mental health and well-being of university staff during the coronavirus disease 2019 levels 4 and 5 lockdown in an Eastern Cape university, South Africa, S Afr J Psychiatr. 2021; 27: 1589. Published online 2021 Mar 8. doi: 10.4102/sajpsychiatry.v27i0.1589

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