Peer-helpers play a key role as volunteer lay counsellors to assist their peers with issues that may affect them emotionally / psychologically or in their career development. Moreover, Peer-helpers participate in all programmes of the unit, this contributes to building skills as it impacts confidence, group interactions, while laying a foundation to serve in a work environment later in life. They advocate for Student Counselling and Career Development Unit (SCCDU) services referring students in need to be assisted by professional Student Counsellors who intervene in emotional and psychological issues. It is for these reasons that SCCDU recently held its first ever team building session with Peer- helpers. This team building session was held at Karibu Resort in Tzaneen.
Peer-helpers were taken through a three-day session. During this three-day session, they were engaged in several activities which challenged them on aspects of self- awareness, communication skills, decision-making skills, problem solving skills, metaphors, confidentiality, and referral protocols as well as the ‘You and I message’. Feedback for the group indicated some level of increased personal insight, psychological areas to be individually addressed and improved, and topics to be addressed on a larger scale within the University context such as sexual assaults, suicide, programme to educate on inclusivity of the LGBTQI++ community amongst others.
Challenges to be expected while serving as a Peer-helper, conduct and protocols to follow while assisting students with different needs were outlined. The value of working together as a team in assisting students within the university was also highlighted.
Peer helpers were encouraged to uphold an exemplary standard to mirror what other students can achieve in their personal, emotional, and academic development. On the final day, ethical code of conduct indicating the commitment to serve and conduct themselves throughout the 2022 cycle was drawn. Students are urged to be on the lookout for Peer-helpers in their residences and faculties whenever they need support.
For Psychosocial interventions, students should WhatsApp the word – ‘psychology’ to the following numbers, 072 925 6449 or 073 479 3481 or 071 100 7544 or 083 716 2921.
Department of Marketing, Branding and Communication University of Venda
Tel: (015) 962 8525 / 8710
Date: 10 May 2022