At our second EduWeb Seminar on the 4th September, clinical psychologists, Kevashni Govender-Naidoo and Ayesha Booley-Schreuder of Impilo Consulting gave EduWeb seminar participants an outstanding presentation, providing thought-provoking insights on the coronavirus pandemic’s erosion of mental health in South Africa.
While EAP industry practitioners and service providers already have professional experience of the negative effects of COVID-19 and lockdown-induced trauma, there is definitely something to be said about the benefits of being taken through the facts in an educational environment, by seasoned professionals, in an insightful way.
EAPA-SA President Elect, Radhi Vandayar, who served as the programme director for this seminar said, “The most profound thing I have taken from this presentation is that Kevashini and Ayesha have put into words what we have all been experiencing. As EAPs we have experienced the feelings and hearing it like this validates what we have been going through.”
EAPA-SA President, Thiloshni Govender: This was the best webinar on Mental Health that I’ve attended this year!
No person is an island – people are all connected and if we are human, we are feeling the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
Highlights of the Seminar
No person is an island – people are all connected and if we are human, we are feeling the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Kevashni Govender-Naidoo pointed out that we have all been waiting with dread for the ill-effects of COVID-19 and, therefore, subject to a level of anticipatory anxiety that leads to feelings of fear, helplessness and panic.
Essential workers have been exhausted by just waiting for the coronavirus to arrive. When something like a global pandemic happens, which is beyond our usual human experience, we become overwhelmed. This prolonged exposure to trauma is too much to bear and we shut down, physically and mentally.
Ayesha Booley-Schreuder pointed out that since it landed, people have been living under incredible stress around the possibility of contracting the coronavirus. People who have suffered the loss of a loved one due to COVID-19 have endured the stress of not being able to see their loved one, maybe for weeks beforehand, and have suffered from very little closure. There has been the stress of other losses – loss of jobs, freedom and everyday normality. Prolonged stressors such as these can lead to enduring psychological problems that may be more devastating than the virus itself.
This has huge implications for employees in a disrupted workplace. There has been a lot of focus on keeping people physically safe but there has been too little focus on emotional and mental health. “We have seen a lot in the media about whether there is enough PPE, but has there been enough focus on providing emotional or psychological PPE?”
“We have seen a lot in the media about whether there is enough PPE, but has there been enough focus on providing emotional or psychological PPE?”
EduWeb is a Useful Tool in the Workplace
EduWeb online education portal is already proving to be an invaluable tool. Not only are we providing insights and practical tools that industry professionals such as EAP Practitioners and HR Managers in the public and private sector can take back to the workplace and put into practice, but attendees of this particular seminar, for example, also get to benefit by learning that what they are going through is perfectly normal and being reminded how important it is to practice self-care as well as caring for the carers in their environment.