Ndalo Media CEO Khanyi Dhlomo talks about the initiative below:

I recently came across a message from a university student expressing concern for the plight of fellow students suffering from high levels of stress and anxiety as the protests against fee increases exploded around them.

The student made an open call for help for the counselling of students on campuses around the country involved in the necessary, but clearly difficult, acts of protest. The counselling resources available at many universities were overloaded and there was a clear need to make help available to those in distress and to youth across the country in need of psychological support.

The issue of mental health is often overlooked in our country, yet our fast-paced lifestyle – and its attendant daily stressors – can be overwhelming…

As a mother and fellow citizen, I was strongly impacted by her call for help. The issue of mental health is often overlooked in our country, yet our fast-paced lifestyle – and its attendant daily stressors – can be overwhelming, especially for young people trying to cope with studies, economic and political factors, career stress, racial and gender challenges, relationship issues and other elements. The psychological strain of participating in protests such as those we’ve seen in recent weeks is just one example of such challenges.

As a result, Ndalo Media approached SADAG to work with us in launching the DESTINY Helpline for Youth and Students. It’s available via a toll-free number, 0800 41 42 43, and offers free telephonic counselling seven days a week from 8am-8pm for any mental health issue, including:

  • Trauma, depression, stress and/or anxiety.
  • Getting through exams.
  • Planning ahead for one’s career.
  • Stress caused by relationships, loneliness, isolation and social pressure.
  • Self-esteem issues.
  • Stress caused by racial and gender discrimination.
  • Sexual harassment.

The service will also offer access to online mental health chats and professionals via the SADAG Facebook Friday programme and further resources via the SADAG website (www.sadag.org).

Students also have the option of contacting SADAG through Facebook (The South African Depression and Anxiety Group) and Twitter (@TheSADAG) to request time with a counsellor for support.

Whether you’re a high school pupil, a university student or a young working person struggling with a variety of issues and in need of emotional support, there’s no need to battle through despair alone. Give the DESTINY Helpline for Youth and Students a call for the support you need.

Contact the DESTINY Helpline for Youth and Students via:

  • Telephone: Call the toll-free 0800 DESTINY Helpline – 0800 41 42 43.
  • SMS: SMS 31393 and a counsellor will call you back. (Standard SMS rates apply.)
  • Please Call Me: Send SADAG a Please Call Me via 083 649 8586.
  • Social media: Tweet @TheSADAG with the hashtag #DestinyHelpline
  • Email: office@anxiety.org.za and a counsellor will contact you.

For any media enquiries, please contact Cassey Chambers of SADAG at: office@anxiety.org.za or Onke Dumeko of Ndalo Media at: onke.dumeko@ndalomedia.com