Health and Wellness of our employees during COVID-19
Dear Principals and Teachers
The Western Cape Education Department (WCED) is keenly aware of the anxiety and stress that many of our colleagues are experiencing during this challenging time of lockdown and in the uncertain months to come, both in our professional and personal lives.
We are all going to be faced with times of high stress and difficult choices.
Whilst faced with all these challenges, we must never forget our own wellbeing and those we guide. The WCED cares about your health and safety, and, together with Metropolitan Health, we have explored ways how we can support you as leaders during this time, as well as our teachers.
In February 2020, the WCED entered into a new Employee Health and Wellness Programme contract (EHWP) with Metropolitan Health.
The service provides for professional support for various issues, from family challenges, financial advice, relationships, medical advice and work-related challenges.
During Covid-19, these services have continued and have been adapted to guide us in managing our stress, anxiety and health during this period.
I therefore encourage you to make use of these services, if required, please. As principals, there is no greater need now than to lead your family, school staff and communities. We need levelheadedness, calmness, and strength. Please share this with your teachers so that they, too, receive the support and advice they require during these uncertain times.
The following psychosocial services are available to you and your immediate family members:
- Family Challenges – Marital, Divorce, Parenting, Relationships
- Mental Health – Stress, Anxiety, Depression and Trauma counselling
- Bereavement counselling
- Alcohol abuse and drug dependency
- HIV and AIDS Management
- Practical advice on financial and basic legal issues.
You are welcome to contact the EWHP on their toll-free number: 0800 111 011 to have a confidential conversation with one of their counsellors who will provide counselling support.
Face-to -face counselling has been suspended during lockdown; however, counselling will still be made available via telephone, Skype, Zoom and mobile device video platforms (subject to the availability of digital platforms for the counsellor and client). You can also send them a “Please call me” at *134*664*38# or email them at email@example.com.
These services are there to assist you and your family in dealing with this crisis. We need you to have peace of mind knowing that your family or dependants are also taken care of.
It is also important for you as a leader to talk about any concerns you may have about your employees. Please refer employees to the programme if you are concerned about their mental wellbeing and coping mechanisms.
More information can be accessed via the WCED’s EHWP web portal at: https://wcedonline.westerncape.gov.za/employee-health-and-wellness-programme.
.During this period you also get access to https://myhealthtv.com/home, for health and fitness advice, mental wellbeing and other related issues.
An added service is access to Hello Doctor, https://www.hellodoctor.co.za/, which allows you to talk to a doctor on your phone. Please register and explore this free, health advisory service.
As we navigate these uncertain times together, we need strong, healthy bodies and positive mindsets.
Seeking the relevant medical and psychosocial support services through this programme can assist with this so that we can continue to serve our school communities.