MUT Student Counselling launches campaign to celebrate self-love

Peer helpers at the information desk, assisting the students with the relevant information

February is considered the month of love globally, but for many, it can also be a month of anxiety, pain and despair as many people feel pressurized to have a ‘significant other’ who acknowledges them during this period.  It is the same “other” that causes problems in most cases.

Dr Paulette Naidoo, the Director of Student Counselling at Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT), said that low self-esteem, feelings of rejection, fear of being single and being alone could lead individuals to “settling” in relationships that are toxic, and physically and emotionally abusive.  Inspired by the words of Tene Edwards, a self-love advocate, the Student Counselling unit has begun a month-long self-love campaign, which began on Valentine’s Day. The Student Counselling unit’s theme for this year is ‘You are more than Enough’, which emphasizes to students the importance of self-love and self-care.

According to Dr Naidoo, self-love and self care are “intrinsically tied to a healthy, positive self-concept and identity”. Dr Naidoo said a secure sense of self helps to mitigate the effects of negative peer pressure and influences. Dr Naidoo added that it was important to encourage students to understand and intentionally practice self-care as this has important implications for eradicating GBV on campus and in their communities.

The Student Counselling team and their dedicated group of peer helpers took the campaign to the students by drawing their attention to the MUT GBV Policy and GBV standard operating procedures document which is meant to guide the University community on how to effectively respond to and prevent GBV. Students were also encouraged to utilize the services of Student Counselling for assistance in developing personal self-care goals and plans designed to strengthen and improve self-esteem and well-being. Students were also advised to seek assistance from the Student Counselling unit if they, or their peers, were in abusive relationships.

Said Dr Naidoo: “While self-care can take different forms, the Student Counselling unit felt it imperative to focus on how self-care can be applied to GBV. This is the reason why our campaign highlights the importance of setting healthy boundaries in one’s personal relationships, including leaving abusive partners and toxic relationships that are detrimental to student safety, security, and holistic well-being.”

Students who need help can use the list of internal and external resources like the Higher Health 24-hour tollfree number:  0800  36 36 36; Stop Gender Violence: 0800 150 150; GBV Command Centre: 0800 428 428 / *120*7867 from any cellphone; Thuthuzela Care Centre (Umlazi) – Prince Mshiyeni Memorial Hospital Tel: 031 907 849; KwaZulu-Natal Network on Violence Against Women – or call  (031) 201 9615, (031) 2019236.