From the news desk

Helpline made available to students and parents

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With matriculants across the country anxiously awaiting their results from the 2015 academic year, minister of social development, Bathabile Dlamini has made available the Department’s Gender Based Violence Command Centre (GBVCC) for those struggling to cope with the immense pressures they currently face.

The call centre was officially opened to students last year in order to cope with the stress caused by awaiting results, and Dlamini confirmed that the centre had experienced two cases of matriculants wanting to commit suicide.

“We also found out that parents are under immense pressure, so this time we thought we should open the line to parents as well,” Dlamini explained.

The minister added that by midday yesterday, 200 people had called into the helpline to seek the services of trained councillors and social workers, who were able to effectively deal with the cases presented to them.

A recent survey conducted in the United Kingdom (UK) has suggested that parents are making students feel worse about results day, and more than half respondents say it will be the most stressful day of their life.

Over the past few years a number of deaths have been recorded as a result of matriculants partying after the release of their final results.

“Those who have passed, we congratulate them, but we discourage them from attending parties and abusing alcohol.

“Their lives have changed for the better and they should look forward to a prosperous future and should not indulge in reckless behaviour,” Dlamini went further.

Reckless behavior on the country’s road after the release of results has also been a prevalent and concerning issue down the years.

According to the Road Traffic Management Corporation, there are roughly 40 deaths per day and 14 000 deaths per annum on South African roads. Human error is the largest contributor to this carnage. 65% of fatal crashes are alcohol related while pedestrians walking drunk on the roads account for just under 40% of road fatalities.

Minister Dlamini says that the department has social workers in all districts that make sure that all cases are followed up. The Department of Social Development also partners with various other departments to ensure the effectiveness of the call centres and to follow up with cases that may be of greater concern.

“For those who have not made it; we offer psycho-social services in our call centre where social workers receive the calls and deal with the matter. If they think the case is a bit difficult, then they refer it to a retired social worker,” said the minister.

The Command Centre can be reached toll free on 0800 428 428. Callers can also request a social worker from the Command Centre to contact them by dialling *120*7867# from any cell phone. VOC (Umarah Hartley)

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