Acknowledging anxiety, wellness concerns


Just as no-one could have predicted the COVID-19 virus or its global impact, so no individual, institution or country has all the answers in navigating the safest and most economically astute way forward. What’s more, no-one is able to accurately predict when this crisis will end.

As the coronavirus case and death rates continue to rapidly rise in South Africa, and closer to home in the COVID-19 hotspot of Nelson Mandela Bay, we know that “the storm is upon us”.

Indeed, for most Nelson Mandela University staff and students, “the virus now has a face” as each of us has been directly, or indirectly, affected by the pandemic. 

Heightened Anxiety
This present uncertainty, compounded by the need for each of us to adapt to new ways of working and studying to enable completion of the academic year, has led to heightened levels of anxiety.

These increased anxiety levels are to be expected and are understandable. Such stress, fear and anxiety, however, needs to be managed or it can lead to working excessively. This is neither sustainable nor good for one’s health.

Tolerance and Compassion
The University acknowledges this and wishes to encourage an environment of tolerance, understanding, kindness and compassion as we interact towards finding the best way forward in these unprecedented times. We are particularly mindful of those who in are quarantine, are COVID-19 positive, have family members who are ill or who have lost loved ones. Reach out to them. 

Please also remain connected with your line manager, residence manager or lecturers, and your colleagues and friends, in sharing your concerns and anxieties.

Health Concerns
Staff who have underlying pre-existing medical conditions (comorbidities) should contact to complete the compulsory health declaration form if they have not already done so, and students with similar concerns should contact Student Health Services on 041 5041149  to be guided on the way forward. 

Professional Support
Professional counselling support is available to you and your family towards managing your anxieties and wellbeing.  Wellness@work offers practical support via webinars each week and can be reached on

Students can seek support by emailing the Emthonjeni Student Centre on or by calling 044 8015062 (George Campus only).

Important COVID-19 Contacts

  • Official toll free 0800 029 999; WhatsApp - Send the word HI to 0600 123 456
  • Social Relief or Distress – Eastern Cape – 043 707 6300
  • South African Police Service 08600 10111
  • National Crisis Line 0861 322 322
  • Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit 0800 150 150
  • Woman Abuse Helpline 0800 150 150

While the University may not have all the answers to the many challenges ahead, it does commit to helping you to manage your emotional wellbeing. This is in addition to its adherence in ensuring your safety through COVID-19 compliance measures.

Finally, staff are encouraged to take leave as per the new leave arrangements to try to rest and recharge for the journey ahead, while students should use their specific recess time to catch their breath and refresh themselves.

Coronavirus Task Team
Health, Wellness and HR Workstreams