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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

Visually impaired UFS student an inspiration
2016-10-05

Description: Zingisa Ngwenya Tags: Zingisa Ngwenya

Zingisa Ngwenya at the 2016
Spring Graduation Ceremony at the Callie Human
Centre on the UFS Bloemfontein Campus.
Photo: Johan Roux

“Zingisa, I saw the tears streaming down your face when you were being hooded,” said an emotional Dr Khotso Mokhele, Chancellor of the University of the Free State. “And you were not the only one with tears streaming down your face.”
 
Zingisa Ngwenya, a visually impaired BA Communication Science student, was one of those who graduated at the UFS 2016 Spring Graduation on 15 September 2016 at the Bloemfontein Campus. By her side were her guardians, Derek Watts, the presenter of the current affairs TV programme Carte Blanche, and his wife Belinda.

Dream becomes reality with support from community
Watts first met Ngwenya at the Audi Pioneer School Rally in Worcester, Western Cape, in which she was his co-driver. He admired her ability to read all her instructions in braille. “I was inspired by her because she had lost her sight late in her school career,” said Watts at the graduation ceremony. Ngwenya was academically strong and her aspirations to go to university led to the relationship.  

The UFS Centre for Universal Access and Disability Support, the Kirsty Watts Foundation, Gavin Fourie from Richmond, and Symington and De Kok law firm in Bloemfontein helped make Ngwenya’s dream a reality. “We managed the facility for her to do well, but it’s nothing compared to what she has done to get this degree,” Watts said.

Support from Watts family made things possible
Ngwenya will be studying towards a law degree at UFS, as well as working part-time at, Symington and De Kok. “She never bemoans what has happened to her in life. She just looks ahead to make the most of her life,” Watts said.

“Derek and Belinda’s support means everything to me. Without them it would not have been possible because it has really been a struggle, but they believed in me,” Ngwenya said.

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