Healthcare workers are exhausted, stressed, and at high risk for physical and mental illness as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to take its toll in South Africa. Top South African medical, clinical, and professional associations are collaborating to bring much much-needed support and care to healthcare workers across the country.
The Healthcare Workers Care Network (HWCN) is a nationwide healthcare worker support network spearheaded by partners SA Society of Psychiatrists (SASOP), SA Medical Association (SAMA), Psychological Society of SA (PsySSA), SA Society of Anaesthesiologists (SASA), and the SA Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG). It offers all healthcare workers across the public and private sectors free support, pro bono therapy, resources, training and psychoeducation. The HWCN already has over 500 volunteer mental health professionals, including psychiatrists, psychologists, GPs, registered counsellors, and social workers, who will provide help, intervention, and support to all healthcare workers. These include doctors, nurses, community healthcare workers, field workers, hospital or clinic personnel, including hospital laundry staff, and porters.
The HWCN has launched a 24-hour toll-free Helpline (0800 21 21 21), SMS 43003 and website ( so that all healthcare workers can access immediate counselling and support. “By providing as many touchpoints as possible for our frontline healthcare workers across South Africa, to ensure they have mental health support and intervention is crucial in ensuring that their mental health is looked after during this stressful time.”