About this Webinar:

Mental health conditionsdisorders and diseases of young adults are rarely on the frontline of health regulations and local health agendas even though the World health Organisation estimates that worldwide about 10-20% of young people experience mental disorders. In fact, neuropsychiatric conditions are the leading cause of disability in young people across the globe. If untreated, these conditions severely influence their educational attainments and their potential to live fulfilling and productive lives. Students are more likely to experience higher levels of anxiety, depressive symptoms, sadness, hopelessness, loneliness, suicidal feelings, concentration difficulties, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, poor academic performance, low educational expectations, and demonstrate more aggressive, impulsive, and anxious behaviours. One would expect these mental health challenges to be exacerbated by the digital age as well as the COVID-19 pandemic scourge.

Taking these mental health concerns into consideration, this webinar provides strong arguments on why academics should have a deeper understanding of the mental well-being of their students and how this impact on students’ learning and academic performance. Experts in higher education and psychology will provide local and global perspectives and identify priorities on the mental well-being of university students. Specifically, panellists will share their views on student mental health, strategies employed in their very own institutions to promote mental health, and the impact of digital learning and COVID-19 on student mental. The focus will be on identifying risk and resilience factors that contribute to the mental health of students. The ultimate goal of this webinar is to promote an exchange of ideas on what could be done by academic staff and their institutions to support students experiencing mental health problems towards positive academic and personal outcomes, and enhanced coping in crisis situations like the COVID-19 pandemic.


Moderator: Professor Jace Pillay

Professor Jace Pillay’s experiences in the last 30 years as a teacher, school counsellor, school psychologist, the head of school psychological services, HoD for educational psychology and Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Education at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) shaped his academic career. Currently, he is the South African Research Chair in Education and Care in Childhood in the Faculty of Education at UJ. His research focus is on child and youth mental health and psychosocial support for schools. Prof Pillay has supervised numerous postgraduate students, published many articles in highly reputable journals, and has several strong national and international research collaborations. He is a registered educational and counselling psychologist and currently he is the chairperson of the Education, Training, and Registration Committee for the Professional Board of Psychology in the Health Professions Council of South Africa.


Professor Norman Duncan

Professor Norman Duncan holds a professorship in Psychology and is the DVC: Academic at the University of Pretoria. His research and publications are primarily in the fields of racism and community psychology. He has co-edited a range of volumes, including ‘Race, Memory and the Apartheid Archive (Palgrave/WUP). His current research scholarly interests focuses on teaching and learning in higher education. He is a former President of the Psychological Society of South Africa (PsySSA).

Professor Malose Makhubela

Professor Malose Makhubela is a Clinical Psychologist in private practice and a Professor at the University of Limpopo. In addition to studying individual symptoms of mental disorders and their causal relations, he also conducts research on how to best assess and classify mental disorders in young adults.

Professor Angina Parekh

Professor Angina Parekh qualified as a Clinical Psychologist in 1980 and obtained a D.Phil. in Psychology (1988) from the former University of Durban-Westville in which she lectured for a while. She served on a number of university structures and was an executive member of the Clinical Division of PsySSA. Angina was the Chief Director for Academic Transformation and Planning in the Department of Higher Education and Training. In 2000 she was appointed Ministerial Advisor on Higher Education and a few years later she headed up the Department’s Merger Unit responsible for restructuring and transforming the country’s higher education system. She has served on several Ministerial task teams making an indelible mark on improving higher education. Currently, Prof Parekh is Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic) at the University of Johannesburg.

Professor Linda Theron

Professor Linda Theron (D. Ed.) is an educational psychologist by training. She is also a full professor in the Department of Educational Psychology, University of Pretoria, South Africa.  Her clinical and research interest is in child and adolescent resilience and she has authored 100+ academic publications relating to that interest. The National Research Foundation of South Africa rated Linda’s resilience-focused work as internationally acclaimed and she is an elected member of the Academy of Science, South Africa (ASSAf). 

Webinar Details

Date: 27 May 2021

Time: 18:00 – 20:00

Platform: Webinarjam

Join us on Webinarjam as we unpack Student Mental Health in the Digital Age and earn 2 General CPD Points!

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