Academic staff’s mental wellness is not being given attention during Covid-19

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Brightness Mangolothi, the director of Hers SA. Picture: Supplied
Brightness Mangolothi, the director of Hers SA. Picture: Supplied

Since the beginning of the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic there have been reports of declining mental wellness. In the academic sector, this elephant in the room has only acquired a bigger presence under lockdown. While there has been an increased and welcomed interest in student mental health in recent years, limited attention has been paid to university staff.

Universities are high-pressure environments at the best of times. Under lockdown, these pressures are exacerbated. According to Doctor Luca Morini, a research associate in education and media at Coventry University in the UK, higher education institutions have become “increasingly gamified, with points and rankings, and winners and losers” and this has become a contributing factor to the pressure that academics and professional staff feel in the workplace.

This fierce competition is driven by a need by these institutions to remain at the top of the rankings both locally and internationally in order to attract the best students and staff, as well as funding.

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