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14 June 2018 Photo Supplied
Next Chapter Green Ribbon campaign addresses mental health
Members of Next Chapter and UFS Student counselling are working together to address mental health issues.

Next Chapter, a student support group at the UFS presented the Green Ribbon campaign, pledging their support to students and providing them with assistance in coping with life events that stimulate stress and contribute negatively to their mental health. The team aims to break the stigma surrounding mental health care, and continually assist students with mental health-related issues that they struggle with daily.

The Green Ribbon represents mental health awareness, which is a pressing matter for students and is the type of support students need in a stressful university environment. The campaign focuses on teaching students how to cope with life events that stimulate stress, and contribute negatively to their mental health.
 
A discussion by Dr Ancel George: practising clinical psychologist and lecturer from the UFS Department of Psychology, and Dr Mellissa Barnaschone: Director of UFS Student Counselling, took place, where talks were prominent about creating an inclusive environment for UFS students.

The panel shared a few tips on how students should work towards managing stress, and motivated them for the main mid-year examinations.
 
The follow-up Exam Cram Workshop, presented by Nadia Cloete and Lize Wolmarans, that combined time and stress management, took place on 2 June 2018, and saw students receiving advice on how to approach various issues during the examination period.
 
Mental health awareness does not end with the campaign and Next Chapter’s slogan “Your story continues” encourages students to regularly wear and commemorate the green ribbon in support of continual mental healthcare.
 
Should you have any enquiries or input for the ongoing campaign, contact the Next Chapter team on ufsnextchapter@gmail.com, or further email Tshepang Mahlatsi, founder of Next Chapter on tshepangmahlatsi767@gmail.com

News Archive

When you are deaf, you have to work very hard to join in the conversation
2014-09-11

 

Dr Magteld Smith

A researcher at the University of the Free State is part of an overseas audiological breakthrough, after receiving a newly developed cochlear implant processor.

Dr Magteld Smith, researcher at the University of the Free State’s Department of Otorhinolaryngology, is the first South African to receive the Rondo cochlear implant processor from Med-El in Austria, manufacturers of cochlear implants and audiology-assisting appliances.

In the field of cochlear implants, the Rondo device is very advanced in the sense that the single-unit device is wireless and easily adapts to the sound of various environments (i.e. nature, conference halls, planes and phones). It also enables the receiver of a cochlear implant to hear more than one sound at a time – something that wasn’t previously possible.

Dr Smith tells about the meaning of the device in just a short time: “For the first time I can take a walk with my dog and hear both our footsteps on the gravel of the dirt road. I can hear my own footsteps, as well as the chirping of three different birds. All at the same time.”

Dr Smith, who is currently devoting her research to the medical-social model of the global organisation, International Classification of Functioning, Disabilities and Health, as well as research in all fields of deafness, relates the anxiety, frustration and depression which formed part of her daily existence. It also complicated and undermined her academic participation.

“Deafness is very traumatic. When you are deaf, you have to work so much harder to compete in a hearing world and to join in the conversation. Because of your deafness you become anxious about misunderstandings in the workplace.”

Dr Smith is working hard and constantly not to take a back seat in the academy due to her deafness. On completion of the Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship programme, she received a certificate signed by the American president, Barack Obama, and was named as one of the top three researchers among 400 researchers from 192 countries. Only two South Africans are selected every year by the American State and International Institute for Education. 
 
In June this year, she delivered a presentation of her work and research at the 13th International Conference on Cochlear Implants in Munich, Germany. In July this year, she delivered a presentation at the 5th International Conference for Global Hearing Health. In August she was awarded a scholarship from the Golden Key International Honour Society for outstanding scholastic proficiency and academic merit.

“As a child, my parents were told that I was ineducably disabled. Today, I am grateful for the endless speech therapy since my toddler days, and to my dear mother, Jo, and late father, Chris Boshoff, and their firm belief in God which made them believe in me as a person with a congenital deafness. I am grateful for their unconditional love, endless patience, encouragement and support through my long journey in a competitive hearing world. This, together with the help of technology, enabled me to make a significant contribution to the academic world. Everything in my life is undeserved grace, pure kindness.” 
 
 

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