Psycho-social support for families and individuals amidst COVID-19 pandemic | Western Cape Government



Psycho-social support for families and individuals amidst COVID-19 pandemic

4 August 2021

Mental and psychological distress during the COVID-19 pandemic has increased exponentially, with many individuals dealing with the loss of a loved one, a colleague, a family or community member without the appropriate grief and bereavement support. 

“Throughout the pandemic, many individuals across the country have also suffered job or income loss or both, which has affected their mental and emotional well-being. This is exacerbated by feelings of anxiety and despair that is common and prevalent during a humanitarian crisis.

We recognise that the emotional and psychological pain that many people have been exposed to, during these unprecedented times, is never easy to deal with alone. As such, we wish to reiterate that support is available to affected individuals,” said the Western Cape Minister of Social Development, Sharna Fernandez.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has indeed presented a unique set of psychological challenges for all citizens ranging from anxiety, stress, grief, despair and a sense of hopelessness. Consequently, I wish to encourage everyone to be extra kind to not only those around you but towards yourselves too!” added Minister Fernandez.

In response to the psychological impact of the COVID-19 lockdown, psycho-social support and bereavement counselling services being provided by the provincial Department of Social Development (DSD) with the support of its Non-Profit Organisation (NPO) partners to individuals and families in need of such services.

The support being provided include amongst others, debriefing, counselling and psychotherapy. To mitigate the challenge of accessing services during this period, psycho-social services are also available via telephonic services, to prevent the further spread of the virus.

During the period starting from April 2020 and ending January 2021,  71 727 accessed DSD psycho-social support services.

“I wish to extend my gratitude for the support being provided by our religious leaders, frontline workers, essential services and civil society during the Covid-19 pandemic, whilst we continue to engage in our joint efforts to combat this common threat.

As we continue to engage all stakeholders to stay safe, save lives and stay strong, we remember those who have passed on and hold  space for those in bereavement.

Let’s unite as caring people to assist another during these challenging times,” concluded Minister Fernandez.

Contact number and further information:

If anyone requires any form of psycho-social and bereavement support, please contact us on our hotline on 0800 220 250, to be connected to your nearest local office.

We urge the public to access credible information on

For more information about our other services, please refer to the Western Cape Department’s Website below:

Media Enquiries: 

Joshua Covenant Chigome

Spokesperson for the Minister of Social Development, Minister Sharna Fernandez

Tel: 021 483 9217

Cell: 083 661 4949