Minister Fernandez urges society to make use of psycho-social support | Western Cape Government



Minister Fernandez urges society to make use of psycho-social support

16 October 2019

World Trauma Day observed on the 17th October 2019, emphasises the importance of preventing and addressing the impact of trauma on people’s lives.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), trauma is a major cause of death and disability across the world.

During the 2018/19 Financial year, NGOs that are funded by DSD, rendered trauma counselling and psycho-social support to 20 830  clients across the Province. This is up by 14 970 since the 2011/12 financial year.

Generally speaking, ‘trauma’ can be defined as a psychological, emotional response to an event or an experience that is deeply distressing or disturbing. However, it can also encompass experiences that are severely damaging, such as sexual and physical abuse or other forms of emotional and/or psychological pain and suffering

Minister Fernandez said: “The social fabric of our country has been torn open by a cycle of violence, sexual abuse, alcohol and drug abuse and a general breakdown of the family unit. It is vital for government, civil society and communities to stand together to break the intergenerational cycle of violence and abuse.”

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), highlight’s that  trauma can affect one’s beliefs about the future via loss of hope, limited expectations about life, fear that life will end abruptly or early, or anticipation that normal life events won’t occur (e.g., access to education, ability to have a significant and committed relationship, good opportunities for work).

In terms of providing services for individuals that have suffered from traumatic events, DSD has joined forces with health services, the educational sector, the police, community safety, and NGOs.

Social workers from the Western Cape Department of Social Development (DSD) render trauma counselling and psycho-social support to children, women, boys and men alike across the entire province. In this regard, DSD offers a range and programs and services to assist in alleviating trauma being experienced across the Province.

These services and programs among others include:

  • safety and risk assessment services;
  • therapeutic and psycho social services,
  • temporary safe care programmes;
  • adolescent development;
  • programmes for children with behavioural, psychological and emotional challenges,
  • transitional care and support programmes for children about to exit alternative care

“Only a whole of society approach through the efforts of all spheres of society can help curb the pressure we experience on our available services, we need communities, and civil society organizations to work with government to help alleviate the high levels of trauma and violence taking place in our communities,” says Minister Fernandez.

Anybody needing more information or assistance can contact us on the DSD hotline on 0800 220 250.

Media Enquiries: 

Joshua Covenant Chigome

Spokesperson for the Minister of Social Development, Minister Sharna Fernandez

Tel: 021 483 9217

Cell: 083 661 4949


Private Bag X9112, Cape Town, 8000

14 Queen Victoria Street, Cape Town, 8001