The Counselling Hub in Woodstock is continuing its services over the phone during the lockdown.
The hub is an initiative of the SACAP Foundation, a non-profit organisation working towards providing affordable mental health services, and the Kaplan Kushlick Educational Fund.
Before the Covid-19 crisis they charged R50 a session but because of the dire economic situation for many people, they have now become donation-based.
They now have more than 30 volunteer counsellors delivering tele-counselling to over 110 patients daily.
“We were determined not to separate our clients from their counsellors at such a stressful time, and so we managed to pivot, from the very first week of lockdown, to a tele-counselling service,” says Romi Kaplan, co-founder of the Counselling Hub.
“The first week of March we had to call all the clients to inform them that we had to suspend face-to-face sessions and would be instilling an alternative to provide sessions to them via telephone and virtual platforms.”
The hub had to make sure their counsellors were comfortable with working in this new way.
“We had to devise a system whereby counsellors would be able to recharge with airtime and data that we provided. We had to divert all calls from the main office to a cellphone at one of our houses. Immediately, we engaged an expert in tele-counselling to facilitate a training session via Zoom so that we could all master the basics of this new way of delivering mental health services. At this time of crisis, the importance of the Counselling Hub’s work has been widely recognised and we are deeply grateful to the volunteer counsellors who have come on board and enabled us to actually grow our reach in Cape Town’s vulnerable communities.”
You can support the Counselling Hub with a donation here.
They are only counselling current clients during the lockdown. Future clients can be placed on a waiting list by calling 021 462 3902.