SA: UJ helping students in distress

The University of Johannesburg (UJ) Wellness Unit will in September run awareness sessions on the four university campuses throughout the month of September to assist students and staff members who may be feeling desperate.

The institution said it was acutely aware that students are under immense pressure and this pressure may be related to financial difficulties, academic challenges or relationship problems.

“At times these difficulties may become overwhelming to such an extent that students, and even staff members, may consider desperate measures. UJ has a number of support mechanisms in place to assist students and staff members who may be feeling desperate,” the university said.

Among the support mechanisms include a Centre for Psychological Services and Career Development (PsyCaD), which offers assistance primarily to students, and to staff in times of crises in numerous ways like a walk-in service (no appointment necessary) at all offices in the different campuses, individual counselling sessions, as well as a 24-hour Crisis Line (082 054 1137).

“Students get assistance from Campus Health and Student Affairs. University staff may also approach the Human Resource Division, which has in place a comprehensive Employee Wellness programme,” the university explained.

The UJ Wellness Unit, in conjunction with the Careways Group, a new Employee Wellness service provider, will on 10 September 2018 run awareness sessions on the four university campuses throughout the month of September.

The 10th of September is World Suicide Prevention Day, commemorated annually to promote worldwide commitment and action to prevent suicides.

The tertiary intervention include severe cases, where the university arrange for hospitalisation. Typically, hospitalisation is at Akeso Clinic, Milpark Hospital or Helen Joseph Hospital.

“In cases where the student has attempted suicide by whatever means, this is treated immediately as a medical emergency. Each case is assessed on its individual merits, and depending on the seriousness of the problem, multiple people are involved in assisting and managing the student.

“Typically, the first responders would be Campus Protection Services or the psychologists at PsyCaD. Depending on the seriousness of the case, the student will be transported to the closest medical facility, where psychiatrists, social workers, psychologists, among other qualified professionals, will take over the treatment and management of the case.

“In some cases, after discharge from the hospital, PsyCaD will take over the counselling. In severe cases and where a student refuses hospital treatment, we involve the family,” the institution explained.

The UJ continuously urges students and staff to make use of the available support services.

Condolences extended to Mohlala’s family

Meanwhile, the institution has extended condolences to the family, friends and fellow students on the death of a student in the Department of Journalism, Film and Television, Keleletso Mohlala, who passed away on 23 August 2018.

“We extend our condolences to the family, friends and fellow students of Mohlala. The loss of any life is deeply saddening, and as a university community we are all hurting,” the university said.

According to the institution, UJ only has a record of a single incident involving Mohlala.

This follows recent media enquiries about alleged incidents of suicide and/or attempted suicide by the students and some rumours or speculations that have been doing the rounds on social media about the alleged incidents.

The university urged members of the public to refrain from speculating about the cause of Mohlala’s death and allow the police to finalise their investigations.

“The unfounded speculations cause pain to the bereaved family and relatives.”