Mental health hotline available for students, says minister
Higher education, science and innovation minister Dr Blade Nzimande has encouraged local students to use the Higher Health 24-hour crisis helpline.
This comes as the people across the globe commemorated World Mental Health Day on 10 October, under the theme “Mental health is a universal human right”.
Higher Health is a wellness and development agency of the Department of Higher Education and Training. Its helpline aims to address the mental health needs of students and staff in the post-school education and training (PSET) sector.
Nzimande says in the past two years, Higher Health managed 53 619 reported mental health cases by students. Additionally, he reveals that his department provided mental health support to 321 004 students from January 2021 to June 2023, through Higher Health’s mental health prevention efforts.
According to the department, the agency is equipped with mobile clinics, nurses, community health and wellness practitioners, psychologists and peer educators. It is working with students from the LGBTQ+ community, survivors of gender-based violence, general students and staff, to support them with their health and psycho-social needs.
Through Higher Health, the National Civic Education and Health Skills Programme’s co-curriculum was launched in July 2023.
This online programme is designed to address a number of personal and social challenges facing youth within the PSET sector, and covers six modules, including one mental health module. It is offered in all 12 official languages, which include sign language.
The Higher Health hotline number is 0800 006 333.