Today, the Premier of the Western Cape, Alan Winde, and the Provincial Minister of Social Development, Sharna Fernandez, visited the Provincial Department of Social Development’s regional office in Wynberg. The visit follows World Mental Health Day on Sunday, 10 October 2021.
Premier Winde and Minister Fernandez used the visit to engage with social workers on their experiences and challenges faced during the pandemic, particularly in the field of rendering psycho-social support. The staff from service delivery areas joined in at the Regional Office. The social workers were also thanked for their tremendous contribution to supporting mental wellbeing throughout the pandemic.
According the NIDS-CRAM Wave 5 report, 52% of respondents have experienced significant levels of depressive symptoms since the start of the pandemic and 40% of adults living with children in food insecure households displayed signs of depressed mood in April 2021.
Premier Winde said: “It was very encouraging to hear back from our social workers who have been at the coalface throughout the pandemic helping to support the mental wellbeing of residents during their darkest hours. We know that the pandemic has taken a significant toll on the mental wellbeing and meeting with social workers today was important not only in hearing from those who provide services on the ground but also to acknowledge and thank our social workers for their important contributions.”
Minister Fernandez said: “We acknowledge and appreciate that our social work professionals continue to be a pillar of hope to the many vulnerable individuals, families and communities who would be without help and assistance otherwise. We are grateful for your ongoing commitment and dedication to restoring the well-being and dignity of the residents of the Western Cape.”
The Western Cape Government’s response to wellbeing is informed by the Provincial Recovery Plan, formulated in response to the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Recovery Plan aims to ensure that the wellbeing, safety and job opportunities of all residents are upheld.
Under the leadership of Minister Fernandez, the Provincial Department of Social Development has established a departmental task team and action plan, which includes awareness and advocacy campaigns with communities, on mental health and wellbeing.
During the period starting from April 2020 and ending January 2021, 71 727 people accessed the Department’s psycho-social support services. The Metro South regional office, based in Wynberg, works closely with SAPS stations including Lansdowne SAPS, Mowbray SAPS, and Wynberg SAPS. To date, they have provided psycho-social support to:
- 86 people through debriefing services;
- 344 people through telephonic counselling and one-to-ones;
- 219 people through trauma counselling;
- 121 people who were GBV victims; and
- 196 people who were victims of crime and violence.
To motivate staff, the Western Cape Government is further facilitating community conversations, and raising awareness through communications including radio interviews and social media, and through and Library Collections of Mental Health Material and Exhibitions. We are further providing additional psycho-social support to social workers to assist them following the pandemic.
To view the press kit, please visit: https://westerncape-my.sharepoint.com/:f:/g/personal/cayla_murray_westerncape_gov_za/EnW6SiqObtRElJAo4PrymBQBXXZoaxCZIyVdqlujSPoz-Q?e=v6yVl1
Should you require psycho-social support, please contact the Provincial Department of Social Development’s hotline on 0800 220 250 where you will be connected to your nearest local office.