Contact Us
12 October 2022
Student Mental Health remains a priority

The Centre for Student Support Services (CSSS) at the University of the Western Cape (UWC) said they have been able to assist hundreds of students this year, both virtually and in-person, with counseling and therapeutic services.

This week is Mental Health and Wellness Week at UWC, highlighting the multifaceted professional services and initiatives to facilitate mental health, and academic, disability and leadership support and development, available to registered students.


The Manager for Therapeutic Services, Roné Gerber, said: “The removal of the COVID-19 regulations has seen a significant increase in the number of students returning to campus. CSSS is still predominantly operating remotely. Face-to-face and hybrid workshop offerings are working really well, with students engaging optimally.”

The following table provides an overview of the CSSS student reach for January to September 2022. 

Office for Academic Support 285
Office for Academic Support: Graduate Development Programme 753
Office for Academic Support: Groups 2126
Office for Students with Disabilities  156
Leadership and Social Responsibility 104
Leadership and Social Responsibility: Events 195
Therapeutic Services 568
Therapeutic Services: SADAG 3825
UWC Staff 37

Services are offered individually, in small and large groups, both virtually and in person. The services are further augmented by the 24-hour crisis counseling care line which students can access from anywhere in the country. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has seen a drastic increase in online engagements. As students and staff return to campus, the CSSS will still predominantly offer its services online for larger groups, and slowly integrate face-to-face services for individual and small groups. 

The Office for Students with Disabilities has already accommodated several students for in-person examinations during the first assessment. Most of the statistics reflected in the table above are in line with national and global trends for student mental health

Students who commute to campus accounted for 78.8% of those accessing CSSS during the first semester, while 17.8% were residential students and 3.7% from Kovacs - a private residence. 

The majority of students who accessed CSSS were female identifying students (75.6%). Male identifying students accounted for 23.6%, and non-binary identiyfing students made up 0.9%. 

Finally, first- and fourth-year students made up the highest percentage of students who accessed the CSSS services.

Gerber said: “It is evident from the statistics that the number of students accessing mental health support has drastically increased during the COVID-19 pandemic.” 

The predominant presenting problems are depression (26%) and anxiety (19%), family relationship difficulties (13%), academic concerns (6%) and bereavement (6%). 

“The remainder of student concerns are spread among a number of different psychosocial and economic concerns. Interpersonal family relational concerns contribute to a significant stressor in the development of student mental health concerns,” said Gerber.

Please contact the UWC student helpline on 0800 222 333 or email if you need counseling support.

Credit: Students at the UWC Mental Health and Wellness Day.