As part of its integrated approach to student support during the current remote learning context, UKZN has implemented a toll-free telephone line that enables students from all four Colleges to call the Student Support Services offices free of charge, Monday-Friday from 08h00-16h30.
The Student Support Services (SSS) offices in the Colleges provide confidential psychological and psychosocial services to registered students. Services include individual psychotherapy, trauma debriefing and counselling, group therapy and support, and life-skills development.
The Manager of Student Support Services in the College of Humanities, Dr Angeline Stephens, said that the coronavirus pandemic has already had far-reaching consequences for individual, family and community mental health. ‘The impact thus far has also highlighted the intersections between the socio-economic disparities evident in our country and increased vulnerability to psycho-social distress among certain communities.’
She added that the issue of access is thus an important component of institutional support to students. ‘The toll-free line makes a significant contribution in this regard by enabling students to call free of charge to access psychological support. This is especially important within the current COVID-19 context. The team at ICS, led by Mr Deano Kannigan and Mr Jarrod Harrington, have done a great job in getting the project off the ground quickly.’
They are currently busy with phase two of this project, which involves the installation of soft phone technology on Student Support Services staff laptops. This will further improve services to students who opt for telephonic consultations. Currently, students can access psychosocial support via email, telephone, and Zoom chat or video conference.
Students can call 0800 800 017 toll-free Monday – Friday, 08h00-16h30 to reach any of the Student Support Services offices in the Colleges of Agriculture, Engineering and Science, Health Sciences, Humanities, and Law and Management Studies.