​​​​​​​UPSS emergency number


​Helping students in distress

University students face a great deal of stress and pressure that can impact their life, on both a personal and an academic level. Whether you are a member of faculty or staff, a family member or a friend, we have information to guide you as you address your concerns about a student. We have provided information about possible signs of excessive distress and guidance on how to approach a student whom you are concerned about.​


Will my lecturers or parents know what I share here?

No. The service is confidential and private.

What costs are involved?

The service is free, but you would have to pay a fee if we need to contract an external counsellor. Certain workshops are also charged at a nominal fee.

Can you prescribe medication for me?

No, we cannot prescribe medication. However, we can refer you to a general medical practitioner or psychiatrist, who will evaluate you and prescribe medication based on the evaluation. Should the doctor prescribe medication, you would have to pay for it. If necessary, we will refer a student to the local hospital or a clinic.

If you render a free service, does it mean you are not professional?

Our service is entirely professional and our staff members are registered and qualified psychologists, counsellors and social workers who have strict guidelines and are accountable to several professional councils.

Can I get a letter?

We do not usually provide letters to students. Letters of any kind will be provided to students in exceptional circumstances only and is always at the therapist or social worker's discretion. If, in the course of treatment, the counsellor or psychologist is of the opinion that a student's psychological problems have likely influenced their academic performance, the counsellor or psychologist may decide to provide that student with a letter stating this opinion.

If a student was seen for only one or a few therapy sessions, it is unlikely that the counsellor or psychologist would have enough information to form a thorough, professional and honest opinion. You may request a note stating the dates on which you have attended therapy sessions. As a rule, we write letters only if we already know students or if students are already using our services.

My doctor or psychiatrist has sent me for cognitive behavioural therapy. Can you help?

We provide cognitive behavioural therapy as one of our modalities but employing that depends on the counsellor or psychologist’s training and their assessment of a client's need or profile. Cognitive behavioural therapy is only one of the approaches we follow and is not indicated for all clients and all challenges.

Must I make an appointment?

Yes. We work according to appointments. Make an appointment at our reception at 49 Victoria Street, Stellenbosch.

Do you have an electronic service? For example, can I receive therapy via email or Skype?

No. We do face-to-face individual and group psychotherapy at our offices and use e-mail only for communication when necessary.

What are your office hours?

We are open between 08:00 and 16:00, Mond​ay to Friday.  However, we do have an emergency service (ER24) operating from 16:00 until 08:00 and over weekends to assist students who experience emotional or psychological emergencies.

Can you see my family member, family, partner or friend?

We only see registered students and shall see parents or partners from outside the University only in exceptional cases together with a student if it is in the interest of that student's psychotherapeutic process.

Can I be seen immediately?

We work according to appointments. We have screening discussions during which a student's need and urgency is assessed, and students are then scheduled for the next available appointment.​​