Report any gender-based violence related incidents to the following numbers | 021 959 6550 | 021 959 6301 | 060 980 0286

For more information   Click here >>>

Kindly note that all ITS systems including online applications, registrations, application tracking, applications and/or registrations enquiries or processing, student records, assessment timetables and E-Selection will be unavailable from 12PM on 23 September until 04 October 2020. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

Wednesday, 16 September 2020

Coping with Covid-19

SUPPORT: The Department of Student Counselling has two weekly student online support groups, Lockdown Worriers and Coping with Covid-19, aimed at supporting students with adjustment to lockdown and supporting those who have been directly impacted by COVID.-19 SUPPORT: The Department of Student Counselling has two weekly student online support groups, Lockdown Worriers and Coping with Covid-19, aimed at supporting students with adjustment to lockdown and supporting those who have been directly impacted by COVID.-19

“When I started seeing the symptoms, I kept quiet, I hid my symptoms from everyone because I feared what they were going to say, if they are still going to see me as a good peer educator. As a peer educator I was supposed to be more careful. It was hard accepting that I was sick but I had to stop being selfish and accept it and find help for the sake of everyone else.”

These are the words of a CPUT HIV peer educator describing the fears and concern about stigma they felt after being diagnosed with COVID-19.

Leanie Brits and Thirushni Sam, counselling psychologists from the Department of Student Counselling, said the COVID-19 pandemic has affected people in many ways.

“You may be someone who has experienced stigma or discrimination first-hand or may be someone trying to come to terms with your own personal fear and anxiety related to the pandemic.”

She said that people often do not realise that they are expressing stigmatising language, attitudes or thoughts or engaging in stigmatising or discriminatory behaviour.

“Fear and anxiety are the root cause of stigma related behaviour.”

Groups of people who are often stigmatised include people who have tested positive for COVID-19 or are receiving medical care, their close contacts or family as well as frontline and healthcare workers.

“The impact of stigma and discrimination create lasting psychosocial consequences that persist longer than the infection and pandemic itself,” said Sam.

The consequences of having been subjected to stigma and discrimination, can result in the following:

  • Hiding symptoms of any illness to avoid discrimination
  • Avoiding health check-ups
  • Avoiding seeking help when feeling ill or disclosing a positive COVID diagnosis
  •  which may lead to furthering transmission within the community
  • Social exclusion or rejection by others
  • Denial of services
  • Struggling to adopt healthy behaviours
  • Physical abuse or violence
  • Self-blame and shame
  • Increasing mental health challenges like depression, anxiety and substance use
  • Personal trauma due to being treated differently
  • Self-isolation and not obtaining support due to fear of stigma

“Through self-awareness and personal reflection, one can become aware of one’s own personal beliefs and attitudes that accompany the pandemic. Therefore, it is each person’s personal responsibility to manage COVID-related fears and anxieties and reduce social stigma.” said Brits.

Sam highlighted that “COVID-19 presents an opportunity to strengthen our social resilience and build a stronger community.”

The Department of Student Counselling has launched various online activities, including support groups, workshop and webinars and psychoeducational resources aimed at addressing various topics related to COVID fear and stigma, mental healthcare and support topics.

This includes two weekly student online support groups, Lockdown Worriers and Coping with Covid-19, aimed at supporting students with adjustment to lockdown and supporting those who have been directly impacted by COVID.

 *If you have been affected by COVID-19 related fear, anxiety or stigma, please consider making use of the following support resources:

COVID-19 toll free line: 0800 029 999

Higher Health 24-hour counselling support line: 0800 36 36 36

For CPUT students, request counselling support at Student-counselling@cput.ac.za

For staff, contact CPUT Lifestyle & Wellness Specialist at mzeles@cput.ac.za.

Written by Ilse Fredericks

Email: Frederickskennediji@cput.ac.za

Provides coverage for the Health and Wellness Sciences and Informatics and Design Faculties.