The Centre of the Janssen-Cilag’s Community
Diepsloot’s Container Counselling Centre
In dusty Diepsloot, home to over 150 00 people, Janssen-Cilag has created a community support system through their container counselling centre. Situated in Diepsloot Extension 2, next to the fire station, the Container Counselling Centre offers free counselling, referral and support to the residents of Diepsloot.
Together with the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG), Janssen-Cilag is making a difference – providing help and guidance to people who, before the centre, had nowhere to turn. “Many of the residents are poor and are continual victims of crime, poverty and an often uncaring, inaccessible system”, says SADAG’s Cassey Chambers. Counselling, provided by SADAG counsellors Bronwan S and Nthombi,L is free. Whether it’s depression, rape, domestic violence, substance abuse or problems at school, the people of Dieplsoot have someone to talk to. SADAG works closely with social workers, school, churches Youth groups , Shebeens and police in the area to ensure that those who need assistance are referred to the centre.
Twenty-five year old Lindiwe* has had four sessions at the centre and is feeling more confident and happy – “she is getting back in touch with the ‘old Lindiwe’ and is really working to achieve her goals”, says Bronwan. Lindiwe has been dealing with ‘absent’ parents her whole life, something that has really impacted her self-esteem and confidence. When she was raped as a child, neither her mother nor her siblings stood up for her or protected her. “My mom was more interested in partying and getting drunk.” Through her sessions at the centre, Lindiwe has faced her hurt and anger, and has learnt to forgive her family and look forward to a brighter future..
Grief is an often a constant companion for many of the people of Diepsloot and something the counsellors see a lot of. By working with the schools and the community as a whole, teachers and caregivers are educated about the impact of grief on children and teens. Many teens are referred to the centre because they are doing badly at school or are having behaviour problems as a result of loss and grief. One such teen is 16-year-old Priscilla* who lost her mother four years ago. Now staying with an aunt, Priscilla has not dealt with her mother’s death and this is impacting on her school work. Through her sessions at the centre, Priscilla has come to terms with her mother’s death and has learnt to mourn her and remember her in a healthy way. A session was also held with her aunt and they are both grateful that Priscilla is now ‘part of the family again’ and is doing so much better at school. Dealing with the loss of a parent is always hard, so much more so when you are young, but Janssen-Cilag and SADAG have given teens like Priscilla hope for a happy tomorrow.
Fourteen-year-old Judas* is considered a ‘problem child’ by his family and his school. He has fallen in with a ‘bad’ crowd and has started lying, and stealing and is failing at school. His mother is a domestic worker says money is very tight but she tries to provide for him and encourage him in his schoolwork, but recently discovered that the money she has been giving him for extra classes he has been using to go out with his friends. She was understandably distraught when she brought him to his first session. At face value, Judas seems like an unruly teen, but counselling sessions discover information and gain insight – and Judas is angry at being treated as “a mistake” by his mother. He is acting out because he feels disempowered. Family sessions have been scheduled and in the meantime, the centre is working with the school to help him study better.. Judas is learning through experience how your choices can influence your future – and is excited that it will one day make him a better lawyer.
Janssen-Cilag is really living their slogan through the Diepsloot Container Counselling Centre are truly dedicating their lives to the people of South Africa. Help, hope and empowerment, at the centre are helping people like Lindiwe, Priscilla and Judas to face their emotional and psychological problems and cope more effectively with their circumstances. “We dedicate our lives to yours.”