Student Counselling Unit (SCU)

Welcome to the Student Counselling Unit (SCU)


Dear Student,

Welcome to the SCU where your mental health matters.

We invite you to explore our website and discover all the mental health resources and useful information the SCU has to offer.

If you are using a mobile device, please navigate via the dropdown menu in the top left corner to see the various webpage sections. If you are on your laptop or PC, please use the Menu Tabs on the top of the screen.

The SCU offers a variety of mental health products and services to students. You may want to scroll through our reading material, listen to a podcast, join a webinar or a peer support group. We are happy to announce that we are actively servicing students in face to face and online sessions. We know this is a difficult and challenging time for students and we would like to invite you to make use of our mental health services and products if you need emotional support. 

Talk to a counsellor today:
  • Not everyone wants to contract for structured individual counselling - we understand that.
  • We therefore have counsellors available who will support and assist you via a telephone conversation whenever it suits you.
  • Just call 0800 747 747 or, if you want someone to call you back, send an SMS to 31393. 
  • This 24-hour service is managed by our mental health partners at the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG).
  • You can also access information about and referral to the peer support groups by contacting this number.
  • Peer support groups are confidential and run by students, for students. There is a peer support group running every day! 

Many students have successfully engaged with the SCU by accessing the variety of services on our many platforms.

All our services are free to registered students and available on all our campuses.

To access therapeutic support or find out about individual therapy: 
  • You can email us at [email protected]
  • Send a short message, leave your student number, faculty or campus and cell phone number and we can set up an online appointment.
  • A counsellor will call you back to find out more about your request. 
  • It may take some time to respond to your email request for formal counselling as our psychologists are consulting with students every day.
  • If you need to speak to someone more urgently, or just want to have an supportive conversation with an understanding counsellor, please phone 0800 747 747 or send an SMS to 31393 - don't forget your name and UP student number in the SMS! 
  • During COVID-19 lock-down periods and in the event of restictive access to campus, we do offer our formal therapeutic services on a telehealth platform in the form of e-therapy sessions, using WhattsApp video call, Zoom, or Google Meet. 
  • If you have access to campus, we offer our services in a face-to face consultation, while observing all healht protocols (masks, physical distance and sanitisation of hands and equipment). 
  • Our services are rendered within the regulations promulgated by the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA), the professional body where all our staff are registered. 
  • You will be asked to sign a formal consent form and read our service terms and conditions. 
Other Mental Health Services and  Products offered by SCU:

Under the "Self-help material for students" tab you will find links to many other usefull resources, such as the podcasts and posters developed specifically for our students.

If you wish to organise a webinar or workshop for your residence or faculty house, please send an email to [email protected] .

Follow our monthly Mental Health Awareness events by clicking on the Mental Health Awareness tab on top. 

If you are on your student portal, please pay a visit to our friendly chatbot SCU-B, who will try to answer your mental health and wellness enquiries in a helpful way.  Read more here .

The SCU offers career counselling, career assessment and  a cognitive development programme / cognitive training. You can similarly send an email to [email protected] or visit the "Services offered" tab in our menu to find out how the online cognitive training program can help you - It's free of charge ! 

Students are invited to visit our "Contact us" page to find other resources and specific contact details.

Experiencing an emergency or need to talk to someone now?

The UP careline is available to students every day and even after hours and weekends.

  • Please call 0800 747 747 to talk to a counsellor.
  • The careline also serves as our crisis support line after hours and during  weekends, when our offices are closed. 
  • Please do not send an email to us if you require immediate assistance - rather phone the careline where counsellors are available to assist you 24hrs, every day of the week. 

Please be advised that another resource exists to assist students with mental health related topics and counselling. HIGHER HEALTH in the Post Schooling Education Sector now has a dedicated 24-hour toll-free helpline for addressing the mental health and psycho-social support needs of our students and staff.

Access the 24-hour HIGHER HEALTH PSET helpline: Toll-free call 0800 36 36 36 or SMS 43336

Medical consultations:

The SCU does not offer medical services, but our sister-unit, the Student Health Services (SHS) does! Please visit the SHS webpage for more information. The SHS contact  number is 012 4202500, or send an email to [email protected].  Nurses and doctors are availbale to consult with students. Please provide your student number, name and cell phone number. Consultations are free, but some medications may be at your own cost. You can also use your medical aid if available. 

Academic and course related enquiries:

Please visit your Faculty Student Advisor (FSA) for all enquieries related to studies or course related questions. This includes help with study methods, exam stress, planning your study schedule, course module changes or academic exclusions.

Get a link to the FSA's here

We would like to urge all students to keep scientifically informed during COVID pandemic. Limit your exposure to fake news and sensationalist publications. Just follow the notifications and updates on the UP website for the latest official information on the national lockdown regulations and the pandemic. 

We wish you all the best for your academic career. Focus on progress, not perfection!

If you need emotional support, please reach out to us. 

Kind regards

The SCU Team 

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