The Project in Port Elizabeth, South Africa will restore emotional wellness to learners at 180 local schools where Covid-19 and lockdown conditions have induced considerable fear, anxiety and stress. Children and youth are most traumatised, making learning extremely difficult. Over 6 workshop sessions, the Project will enable learners to express their feelings about Covid and strengthen their coping mechanisms. Those needing individual counselling will be identified and supported.
The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc in global communities.The main psychological impact is increased stress, fear and anxiety. Children and young people absorb and reflect the anxieties experienced by adults around them, yet they do not have the words to express these feelings. The ability of 180,000 PE learners to cope with both these fears and increased academic demands is being sorely tested. The matric learners in particular are facing monumental pressures.
Emotional wellness is an issue for all of us under Covid. This Project focuses on a very vulnerable grouping in society. By providing safe opportunities for learners to express pent up emotions around the lockdown, to validate their feelings, to defuse anxieties and fears, to identify and strengthen their coping mechanisms, we are giving them the best chance of getting through this academic year with greater resilience. Those in need of individual attention will be given counselling sessions.
The PEMH session facilitators will share the idea of introducing Wellness Champions to be appointed in each school. They will identify and encourage those participants who have shown potential to join Wellness Champion Peer Groups to provide ongoing support to other learners. PEMH will support and guide these Wellness Champions going forward, by meeting regularly with them, helping them to plan school activities that maintain emotional wellbeing as a priority beyond the despair of the pandemic.