Reminder: Call for Applications for the APA-IUPsyS Global Mental Health Fellowship Inbox

Reminder: Call for Applications for the APA-IUPsyS Global Mental Health Fellowship Inbox

APA and the International Union of Psychological Science invite applications for the APA-IUPsyS Global Mental Health Fellowship with the World Health Organization. The Fellowship provides a unique opportunity for a psychologist to collaborate with World Health Organization staff in the Mental Health Unit of the Department of Mental Health and Substance Use for a period of one year. The fellow will focus on one or more issues related to the WHO Comprehensive Mental Health Action Plan, 2013-30, which aims to promote mental well-being, prevent mental disorders, provide care, enhance recovery, promote human rights, and reduce the mortality, morbidity, and disability for persons with mental disorders.

Deadline to apply: 14 April 14 2023.

How to deal with inadequate achievement in the Grade 12 examinations in general – Matric Results 2022

How to deal with inadequate achievement in the Grade 12 examinations in general – Matric Results 2022

  1. How to deal with inadequate achievement in the Grade 12 examinations in general

So, the Grade 12 2022 exam results are out. I congratulate all of you reading this message. You have had to deal with many challenges in 2022 and I commend you on your resilience.

First: Hearty congratulations to those who have achieved the marks you required for admission to your chosen institution and your specific career/ study field choice. I wish you the best with your studies.

Second: Those of you who have been less successful still have ample reason to be positive about your future. To begin with: The word ‘fail’ has no place in current society. You have not ever ‘failed’ anything. Instead, the phrase ‘insufficient achievement’ is more appropriate. While your current marks will co-determine whether you will be accepted into your preferred field of study, they will not determine if you will be successful in life. Nor will they limit your career prospects. Yes, it hurts when one learns that the outcomes of an examination were less successful than expected. But step back emotionally and interpret the experience logically. All human beings experience success and are less successful from time to time. This is the most normal thing in the world.

If you achieved results that were below your expectations, this is a manageable challenge. See what has happened as an area for development/growth; an opportunity to demonstrate your resilience and become more adaptable. These are key characteristics and strengths in these rapidly changing and uncertain times.

Note that one should not be set on a particular tertiary institution, whether a university, university of technology, college, or private training institution. While research has shown that people with degrees usually find employment more easily and earn a higher salary than their counterparts, going to university is not the end all and be all. One should not underestimate the value of non-university study. Each study discipline and tertiary training institution should be rated on its own merit. A diploma in e.g. IT or in film studies or a technical qualification in wind turbine service (to name but a few examples) can suit you as a person, but also be enriching. Several specialised diplomas and certificates allow for various career opportunities that can make students highly employable and provide them with more opportunities than some common degrees. A tip is to research career opportunities for students who have already graduated thoroughly – both now and in the future. Ask yourself regularly whether you will still be employable in five, 10, or 15 years.

               Lastly: If needs be, please consult a suitably trained psychologist for career counselling.

  1. What options are available if learners achieve a Grade 12 pass that is not strong enough for admission to tertiary study? Practical guidelines

No ‘one size fits all’. Learners could consider applying for the remarking of their papers, register for and write supplementary exams, or even re-do grades or repeat certain subjects. However, hard work is needed. I urge learners who are determined to achieve better marks to put their words into action. They should find out if they can still apply for a similar field of study at a different institution or another training level. Establish whether you qualify for an extended or bridging programme. Consult a counsellor for information regarding whether it is advisable to rewrite relevant papers, to have your papers remarked, or to repeat or redo certain subjects.

If you decide to re-apply during the coming year, consider taking a gap year (only after you have consulted others that have taken a gap year previously before you make up your mind!). Alternatively, work part-time, or find some other active and constructive way to spend the time. Speak with someone who has not been successful previously but has managed the situation successfully. Here is one example that you might find useful. A student wanted to study medicine, but his marks needed to be better. He did not even take Mathematics or Physical Sciences at school. After completing Grade 12, he registered for Mathematics and Physical Sciences at a post-school training institution. Next, he enrolled for a general degree at a university. After achieving excellent outcomes, he gained admission to study medicine. He is now a fifth-year medical student. The truth is: There are different routes to a career.

Learners’ Grade 12 subject symbols will mean very little over time. Learners should ask themselves what their short-, medium-, and long-term aims are and decide why they are studying; what their end goal is. This surely cannot be to please your family or to outachieve (beat) others. Instead, focus on becoming the best possible version of yourself rather than merely trying to be ‘better’ than someone else. Competing with others serves no purpose.

All the best. I assure you that, irrespective of how well you have or have not achieved in your Grade 12 exams, it is very possible to become employable, find work that will enable you to live a meaningful, purposeful, and hope-filled life in which you enact your key life themes and make substantial social contributions.

  1. How to deal with sadness, disappointment, anxiety, and/ or depression

While your parents (read: parents, guardian, or caretakers) and you will feel disappointed when you were less successful, focusing on and fretting about what might have been serves little purpose. Do something. Overthinking matters without any forward movement is not helpful. Maybe consider the following hints regarding how to deal with sadness, disappointment, anxiety, and/or depression:

  • Regard your parents as an essential part of your support structure. They regard you as precious and they love you unconditionally.
  • Your parents and you should communicate openly. Talk. Or text each other. You are entitled to receive emotional support and to be heard. Tell parents how you feel. Conversely, you should listen when they talk to you.
  • You are reminded that this has been just one exam, one more transition. You have already negotiated multiple transitions in the past. There is always hope. Many people do not initially achieve the marks they had been hoping for in their Grade 12 exams but go on to be extremely successful in later life.
  • As stated above. You have not ever ‘failed’ anything. While your current marks will co-determine whether you will be accepted into your preferred field of study, they will not determine if you will be successful in life.
  • Talking negatively and blaming each other (or whoever else) serve no purpose. I expect your parents to be understanding, kind, compassionate, positive, and inspiring.
  • Some learners may act out and make others feel miserable. This kind of behaviour should be considered ‘normal’ under the circumstances.
  • Do not blame yourself. Or anyone else. What has happened does not make you a ‘bad’ or less valuable person or a so-called ‘failure’.
  • Talk with your parents and seek the help of a psychologist (e.g., an educational, counselling, or clinical psychologist), a registered counsellor, or another suitably qualified person if you develop destructive thoughts or behaviour (including thoughts, ideas, or fantasies about suicide). Psychologists become concerned when, for instance, a person talks, eats, or sleeps significantly more or less, if their moods change substantially, if they articulate feelings of hopelessness, if they cut themselves off from family and friends or appear depressed/ overly sad or disappointed. Suicide in South Africa is increasing as learners could believe that they have ‘failed’ or have let others and themselves down. Phone the SA Depression and Anxiety Group, Lifeline, or one of the suicide hotlines.

For information on bursaries, how to study as well as relax, etc., visit my website at www.kobusmaree.org

International Volunteer Day: Solidarity Through Volunteering

International Volunteer Day: Solidarity Through Volunteering

“In every community, there is work to be done. In every nation, there are wounds to heal. In every heart, there is the power to do it.” – Marianne Williamson

Written by Maryam Gangat [1]

International Volunteer Day is celebrated on the 5th of December every year by volunteers from across the globe. Each year, a theme is selected and celebrated in the spirit of spreading awareness and acknowledging the volunteers who are role models within their communities. The theme for this year, 2022 is: Solidarity Through Volunteering. The theme for this year encourages volunteers to work together within their communities in order to find common solutions for the countless inequalities that people experience throughout the globe.

The United Nations (UN) have emphasised the importance of volunteerism by articulating that it is one of the most vital delivery mechanisms for global transformation, and ensuring a lasting impact with its ability to change people’s mindsets, attitudes, and behaviours. Here are some ways in which you can advocate, spread awareness, and promote volunteerism in your community:

  1. Get involved in volunteer work

Advocacy begins with you. The best way to promote volunteerism in your community and to encourage it in others, is to work towards spreading awareness by supporting your community in various ways. Supporting a worthy cause in your community today, helps build a better world for tomorrow. By volunteering to take care of the environment, lending a hand at underprivileged schools, and passing on valuable skills to the youth, you can help to create a better future and set an example for future generations.

  1. Donate to a volunteer organization

If you are unable to physically volunteer your time or if you have the financial means to do so, donating to a volunteer organisation enables you to help underprivileged communities move towards living healthier, more productive lives. By donating money and other items, organizations can provide their services to the larger community and donated items can be used by individuals in your community who are need.

  1. Share your experiences

When people see and hear about how much volunteerism impacts their communities, it encourages them to volunteer. By educating the public on issues of concern and showing them how the contributions of others have changed things for the better, people become inspired to come together to assist their communities. By sharing and reflecting on your experiences of volunteering, it cultivates gratitude and creates a sense of belonging among individuals in a community.

  1. Demonstrate Genuine Need

Demonstrating genuine need among your community motivates people to volunteer and become more involved. When you create volunteer opportunities or make people aware of the opportunities that already exist within your community, it creates awareness and encourages advocacy. Many organisations rely on volunteers for their time and skills so that they can provide additional services or programs for the larger community. When communities become involved in finding solutions together, they are more likely to be feasible in the long term as they are more inclusive and people-centric.

  1. Create Opportunities

People are constantly moving into and away from communities. This means that the needs of your community are constantly changing and evolving which creates numerous opportunities for volunteerism.  By creating opportunities for individuals to volunteer within communities, it encourages individuals searching for new connections to come together, it promotes community-building and encourages a healthy culture of collaboration, friendliness, and open communication. Creating opportunities for volunteerism motivates individuals and creates a desire among individuals to have a real and tangible impact on one’s community.

In celebration of this year’s theme: Solidarity Through Volunteering, the PsySSA Student Division encourages all students to share their volunteer experiences and express their solidarity on social media using the hashtag #solidaritythroughvolunteering and #IVD2022.

[1] The Author writes in their capacity as a member of the Student Division of PsySSA (Psychological Society of South Africa) and the chairperson of Research into Student Empowerment.