Posted on May 22, 2020

The health and well-being of staff is our highest concern as we unite to fight the spread of COVID-19. As news about the COVID-19 pandemic is dominating the headlines and public concern is on the rise, EWP@UP would like to remind you that taking care of your mental health is as important as looking after your physical health. Good mental health and positive well-being can help you to cope with the COVID-19 threat, anxiety and the overwhelming current situation. It is normal to feel overwhelmed, stressed and anxious, among a wide range of other emotional reactions. Taking proactive measures can help you to manage your mental health during these times of uncertainty. If you are experiencing any symptoms that are affecting your daily life negatively, it is important to get professional help as soon as possible so that you can start the process of getting better. 
EWP@UP encourages all staff members who might be struggling with emotional distress or who are worried to send an email to [email protected]/ [email protected] in order to direct you to one of the counselling professionals. E-counselling services will be available via Skype video call or WhatsApp.
Alternatively, you can visit our Intranet at: or download the UP mobile app should you require more information on any of our services.
For emergencies you can contact the UP Care Line on 0800 747 747. 
Kind regards,
The EWP team

Providing support as gender-based violence cases increase during COVID-19 lockdown

The COVID-19 pandemic challenging the whole world has resulted in various countries instituting lockdowns as one of the response measures to flatten the curve. But for many, these protective measures have also meant being locked in their home with a perpetrator of gender-based violence (GBV). According to IOL, “Over 2 300 gender-based violence calls/complaints have been registered since the beginning of the lockdown on 27 March until 31 March and, from these, 148 suspects were charged…” This report also states, “The police minister had urged the management of the SAPS to reinforce the FCS Units (Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences) at police stations to ensure the SAPS readiness and capacity to respond to related complaints.”
In addition to the most common sexual and gender-based violence acts like sexual harassment, rape or sexual assault, GBV also manifests itself in intimate partner violence (IPV). This is domestic violence by a current or former spouse or partner in an intimate relationship, against the other spouse or partner. While the perpetrators of harm and abuse are mainly intimate partners, it must be acknowledged that other family members may also be the instigators of such violence.
GBV manifests itself in physical, emotional or sexual abuse and violence. It also includes financial/economic abuse. During this lockdown, many people are forced to stay in their houses with violent partners or family members who abuse them, with no way of avoiding those who inflict harm. Our employees and students confronted with the same challenges related to GBV are now isolated from the people and resources available within the University of Pretoria to support and guide them.
In the face of a resurgence in the scourge of GBV, it is important to note other support services available to help employees and students to cope during the lockdown:
The Health and Well-being Unit as well as the the Student Counselling Unit are committed to supporting UP employees and students during these trying times, for help with emotional distress and psychological challenges.
Staff support services
Counselling services are still available to you via Skype video call or WhatsApp. Alternatively, you can visit the Employee Well-being Program (EWP) intranet at Should you require more information on any of the services available, please contact the EWP on [email protected]/ [email protected].
Student support services:
Student Counselling Services is offering e-counselling sessions. Please contact them on 012 420 2333 or [email protected] and they will assist you with your enquiries. Alternatively, visit their website at
You can also access the processes to be followed for booking a counselling services via this link:
For all after-hours emergencies you can contact UP Care Line on 0800 747 747 or UP Crisis Line on 0800 006 428. Please contact your nearest Police Station to lodge a GBV complaint.
- Author Department of Institutional Advancement

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