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20 October 2022
Wellness at Work for UWC Staff
More than 135 University of Western Cape (UWC) staff have accessed counselling and support services so far this year as part of the Wellness @ Work service.

October 10 was World Mental Health Day and as a precursor to Mental Health Week at UWC, the Human Resources (HR) Department hosted a webinar on Friday, 7 October 2022 to lead into Mental Health week.
UWC Staff Sport members with HR staff

The HR Department also hosted a wellness event on 11 October in the Jakes Gerwel Hall for UWC Staff, themed 'Spring into Wellness'. 

The event was attended in person by over 350 staff members.

Sizwe Hosmed conducted over 80 screening tests ranging from blood glucose tests, blood pressure tests and BMI measurements. 

Campus Health also conducted testing for blood pressure and blood glucose on those not affiliated to any medical aid. CANSA offered blood pressure and blood glucose testings, and whilst the University booked only 15 prostate specific antigen (PSA) as a new wellness event offering, a total of 29 tests were conducted. UWC is delighted that more staff identifying as male have visited the CANSA stand and received education about prostate health. Other CANSA screenings included the breast examination with breast light, and a mole analysis. All CANSA screenings and tests included an educational discussion. 

CANSA Shavathon had over 50 engagements with a combination of hair sprays and shaves.

Biokinetics services were also on offer as the UWC Gym showcased their services. To get staff further enthusiastic about maintaining good health by being active, a Zumba session held in the quad was enjoyed by all those participating and watching. UWC staff were further able to access the dental mobile clinic for overall oral health screening. The Dental mobile clinic conducted over 100 oral health screenings.

Wellness @ Work provides a range of services which employees may make use of. Available services are communicated to staff members via email every Monday. 
UWC Biokinetics's station was popular during the wellness event

UWC Risk and Compliance staff member, Trevor Goosen said: “For me personally, having visited a few of the posts - it opened my eyes, that I need to go to regular check ups for my health on what to eat. And when the lady asked me the question about mental health, ‘Do you need to speak about it?’, we do need to speak about it, because we put it in a box and we don’t want to discuss it. That’s why we have students who don’t report issues and the problem becomes too big.” 

UWC Biokinetics Department staff member, Karina Adams, said: “I think it kind of important, especially as staff, that we are responsible for so many students, and having an event like this where the staff can also, you know, relax and get their health checked, I think it's very important for their mental health, physical health and even emotional health. And seeing other staff members joining in and taking care of their health is such an important thing as it encourages other people to check out their health, as they have a team of people behind them.” 

UWC staff member, Thaakirah Mossavel, said: “This event is a very good event, especially getting to know everyone on campus and the aspect of getting our health in check. People always seem to forget it. Like we always stick to our work all the time and we forget about what’s important, especially with stress and knowing where to go on campus. Because of this event it helps a lot.” 

HR Director: Service Excellence, Elvida Sias, said: “Our theme was "Spring into Wellness" and as such we had a webinar focusing on holistic wellness, followed by wellness and health screening. The day was  a huge success as staff welcomed the opportunity to engage socially on campus.

“This will now be followed by a four-week online fitness programme to give staff a kick start into their wellness journey. Staff must watch out for the invite as it starts on 24 October for four weeks,” added Sias.

She said: “The HR Department delivered a number of these wellness activities over the last year and increased awareness programmes since the COVID-19 pandemic. We publish monthly wellness articles that are also accessible on our intranet.” 

Staff utilisation of the service is reported as follows for the period January to September 2022:

Participation in Individual Support and Counselling:
Total Employees who accessed the counselling and support services from January to August 2022 are:
  • 135 Employees
The Projected individual utilisation from January to December 2022 based on the current figures will be:
  • 202 Employees accessing counselling and support
This reflects an increase in utilisation from the previous years of:
  • 2021 = 173 Employees
  • 2020 = 106 Employees 
  • 2019 = 111 Employees
UWC's Mobile Dental Clinic also delivered services
The increase from 2019 to 2020 can be attributed to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This day was a huge success and we are immensely grateful to our HR colleagues who assisted in making this possible. Our faculties of Dentistry and CHS, as well as the Departments of Sport, Risk & Compliance, Campus Health and Wellness, and the Office of the Director: Health and Wellness in the Rectorate - as well as our external wellness partners - contributed to the offerings made available to staff.

Wellness @ Work counselling services were available to staff who wished to find out more about the Wellness @ UWC Programme and make bookings for services with a counsellor. 

Pamphlets on wellness related topics such as anxiety and the transition back to working life were also available to staff, with the relevant contact numbers of the Contact Centre, and the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG).
UWC staffers taking part in a Zumba session outside the Jakes Gerwel Hall
View the gallery below of UWC staff participating in Wellness Week events. All pictures by Ruvan Boshoff/UWC Media