Holly Ryder-Nimb Educational Psychologist – Wellness Department
When 2021 started and we were in the Second Wave, we all thought that this pandemic must surely be on its way out. Little did we know that we would have to endure a Third Wave, a Lockdown, Online Schooling, Examinations moved, sport on again-off again and finally, end the year on the brink of the Fourth Wave. Phew! How exhausting and full of change 2021 has been. Luckily for us at St Peter’s College one of our Core Values is Resilience, and this has surely been tested in this past year.
The increase in stressors and lifestyle changes that we have seen having in our world have affected our students as well. Coupled with that general adolescent angst and you get a seething pot of emotions. Thankfully our students have, for the most part, not tried to traverse these emotions and stressors on their own and have sought out assistance and support from the Wellness Department. It has been incredibly encouraging to see how our students are attempting to normalise mental health and bring a once taboo subject out into the clear light of day.
A lot of energy and planning has gone into including various topics around Mental Health into the Life Orientation syllabus this year and more specifically this term. Our aim has been to get our students talking, not only to each other but to the people who can assist them through these stressful and emotional times, giving them practical skills to use when they find themselves alone and in an emotional state.
We are fortunate that the school executive and council recognise the necessity and importance of having two fully qualified full time Educational Psychologists and a Chaplain on staff, available to assist students and staff when needed. The services offered are therapeutic, assessment and referral based.
As we journey into the festive season, which can often be a time of increased stress or loneliness, always know that someone is available to listen. I leave you with a couple of telephone numbers, just in case you need them. Remember that there is no greater strength then asking for help.
SADAG Mental Health Line – 011 234 4837
Cipla 24-hour Mental Health Line – 0800 456 789
SADAG Suicide Crisis Line – 0800 567 567