Nov 2023 1st Edition

Students encouraged to use Higher Health crisis helpline

EucationHigher Education, Science and Innovation Minister, Dr Blade Nzimande, has encouraged South African students to use the HIGHER HEALTH 24-hour crisis helpline, which addresses the mental health needs of students and staff in the higher education community. 

HIGHER HEALTH is the health and wellness agency of the Department of Higher Education and Training Department.

In response to mental health within the Post School Education and Training (PSET) sector, Minister Nzimande said the agency managed 53 619 reported mental health cases by students in the past two years.

Through HIGHER HEALTH Mental Health Prevention, the department provided mental health support to 321 004 students from January 2021 to June 2023, aimed towards fighting the stigma and taboos around mental health.

“HIGHER HEALTH is also working with students from the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, intersex, asexual, and more community, survivors of gender-based violence and general student and staff, and supports them with their health and psycho-social needs,” said the Minister.

 He added that the agency is equipped with mobile clinics, nurses, community health and wellness practitioners, psychologists and peer educators, to provide support to students, and arm them with knowledge to build their resilience against the scourge of mental health.

 The HIGHER HEALTH Psychosocial Support Counselling Unit equipped with experienced psychologists and counsellors also supported 23 450 students through therapies and mental health treatment, from January 2021 to June 2023.

Through HIGHER HEALTH, in July 2023, Minister Nzimande launched the National Civic Education and Health Skills Programme’s co-curriculum designed to address a number of personal and social challenges facing youth within the PSET sector.

The online programme covers six modules, including one Mental Health module. The co-curriculum is offered in all 12 official languages which includes the sign language.  –

The HIGHER HEALTH 24-hour crisis helpline can be accessed via a toll-free line on 0800 006 333.


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