Student Mental Health – SADAG offers Free Online Peer Support Group Leader Training
The South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) offers a FREE Online Peer Support Group Leader Training Introduction for any tertiary students in University, TVET or PSET college (over the age of 18 years).
We have identified a need for more student-related Support Groups. ‘Starting to study at any tertiary institution, including Universities, PSET’s, TVET’s or a College can be a massive adjustment as students enter the adult world and become more independent. This can be incredibly challenging while simultaneously trying to find a balance between our social lives, studying and in some cases working simultaneously. We believe that Peer Support Groups can assist students in this transitionary period” says SADAG Support Group Co-ordinator Krystle Kemp.
Our Online Training and Support Programme for Peer Support Group Leaders consists of 4 sessions, including:
- Part 1: An introduction to SADAG and Peer Support Groups; unpacking what a Support Group is, who should consider running a group, and how SADAG will support you.
- Part 2: The Peer Support Group Leader. This section will cover aspects such as characteristics of a Peer Support Group Leader, key responsibilities, effective communications, compassionate counselling skills, active listening and self-care
- Part 3: Planning your Peer Support Group looks at group guidelines, a peer Support Group value statement, screening new members and managing challenging situations
- Part 4: Hosting your first Peer Support Group and preparing for meetings going forward. In this section we will be looking at your Peer Support Group Meeting Planner as well as maintaining and growing your Peer Support Group
Tertiary students are faced with making potentially life-changing decisions such as what to study and what career they would like to follow, and the weight of these decisions are heightened by anxiety as a result of workload, exam stress, deadlines and performing well. Support Groups provide a safe space for people who are facing similar life challenges to connect, learn, share and support one another.
Mental Illness including anxiety, depression and panic attacks can make anyone feel misunderstood, lonely and isolated, especially because there is so much stigma surrounding these conditions. Being part of a Peer Support Group provides students with a space where they feel they belong and are understood. It also teaches them skills that they can use to manage better with everyday life.
The focus of these Peer Support Groups will be on student related issues including:
- Isolation and Loneliness
- Anxiety and Panic
- Time management
- Exam Stress
- Balancing of study/work/social life
- Dealing with academic stress & pressure
- Self Care
- Conflict management
- Coping with anxiety, the importance of resting and more.
“Joining a Peer Support Group has helped me connect and share with others. I feel less alone, and more like I belong. It is amazing to have a group of people who understand how I’m feeling,” says *Rutendo.
SADAG guides new Peer Support Group Leaders on running a group step-by-step, including a free 4-part training program, practical experience, advertising materials and ongoing support.
Mental illness affects many South Africans, and so many people don’t know where to go for help or how to cope with depression or anxiety. Support Groups are a great resource reminding us that there is always hope and that you are not alone. For more information about the Support Groups or for free telephonic counselling, please call SADAG’s Higher Health Helpline for Students 0800 36 36 36 (24 hours a day).
If you would like to join a Peer Support Group please click here.