The World Health Organisation defines mental health as “a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.” Mental health has multiple biological, psychological and social determinants. 

Mental Health Care

A person with mental illness may experience episodes of mental ill health, which interrupt that person’s capacity to fulfil their work, family, social, academic and community roles. Mental illnesses are health conditions involving changes in thinking, emotion or behaviour (or a combination of these). Mental disorders affect hundreds of millions of people and, if left untreated, create an enormous toll of suffering, disability and economic loss.

The Nelson Mandela University Student Health Services actively seek early identification of mental disorders, treatment of common mental disorders, referral to other levels where required, attention to the mental health needs of people with physical health problems, and mental health promotion and prevention and counselling.

Should you experience any prolonged symptoms of stress, anxiety, depression, eating disorders, sleep issues, or suicidal thoughts, please contact campus health for assistance.

Substance Abuse

Risky alcohol/drug use increases the chances of dependence and harm.

Substance abuse is a patterned use of a drug(s) in which the user consumes the substance in amounts or with methods that are harmful to themselves or others. Abused substances produce some form of intoxication that alters judgment, perception, attention, or physical control.

  • Alcohol

If you suspect that you are misusing alcohol, please complete the following questionnaire:

The CAGE questionnaire asks the following questions:

1.   Have you ever felt you needed to Cut down on your drinking?

2.   Have people Annoyed you by criticizing your drinking?

3.   Have you ever felt Guilty about drinking?

4.   Have you ever felt you needed a drink first thing in the morning (Eye-opener) to steady your nerves or to get rid of a hangover?

Two "yes" responses indicate the possibility of alcoholism and should be investigated. Please consult with a counsellor.

  • Drugs

Drugs are chemicals that affect the body in different ways. Some drugs can even change a person's body and brain in ways that last long after the person has stopped taking drugs, occasionally even permanently.

The method of how it enters the body (injection, inhalation, or ingestion) affects how the drug affects the person. Injection takes the drug directly into the blood stream, providing an immediate effect; while ingestion requires the drug to pass through the digestive system delaying the effects.

Most abused drugs, directly or indirectly, target the brain's reward system by flooding the circuit with dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter present in the brain that regulate movement, emotion, cognition, motivation, and feelings of pleasure. When drugs enter the brain, they actually change how the brain performs. These feelings of pleasure is what lead to compulsive drug use.

NB! Over-the-Counter medication can and is often abused.

If you are concerned about any medication/drug dependency, contact Student Health Service for assistance.