Groote Schuur Hospital Appreciation Wednesday heroes: GSH wellness team
The wellness team, made up of 18 volunteers from the occupational therapy, support services, and social work departments, is today’s Groote Schuur Hospital Appreciation Wednesday heroes. The campaign seeks to give appreciation to ordinary heroes who are inspiring others during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The wellness team was established in response to the needs that arose due to the pandemic. This included the need to create awareness of mental health support services available onsite and offsite; the need to provide access to coping skills through various platforms; and to change the workplace culture so that it is the norm to talk openly about mental health and wellness. Since the initial onsite counselling sessions during May and July 2020, a total of 102 individual and 205 group sessions were booked, and over 750 employees attended these sessions.
The current wellness services include:
- Providing information to employees, managers and departments, on how to access services onsite, virtually and off site. There are two counsellors onsite throughout the week and night sessions are available on request;
- A weekly survivors support group for employees who have recovered from COVID-19;
- Identifying training needs to address themes that emerge from the counselling services;
- Communicating with hospital management and other internal departments to ensure a feedback loop to meet the emerging needs of all employees;
- Posting a weekly mental health feature on the Heroes of Groote Schuur Facebook page to reduce the stigma of talking about mental health issues and to normalise accessing the necessary support; and
- Collaborating with Team Project Care, palliative care and the department of psychiatry and psychology, to coordinate all efforts to support employees and patients.
In addition, the wellness team has also made accessibility to virtual counselling possible by installing 16 webcams in the COVID and specialised intensive care unit (ICU) wards to enable virtual counselling.
“The wellness team is determined to look after the overall employee wellness at Groote Schuur Hospital. We will continue to provide counselling services via our service provider to meet the current needs. Our long-term vision is to expand our services to provide ongoing holistic support to all employees,” says project lead, Misha Naik, who works as a mental health occupational therapist at Groote Schuur Hospital.
The Western Cape department of health is proud of the incredible work being done by the wellness team at Groote Schuur Hospital. The initiatives on offer are positively contributing the wellbeing of their colleagues who struggle with the added mental health challenges brought about by the pandemic. If you would like to send the wellness team a message of support, post it on the Heroes of Groote Schuur Facebook page or email, Gshfirstname.lastname@example.org
Byron la Hoe
Western Cape Government Health
Cell: 072 368 0596