P reviously St Andrew’s College assisted boys who were experiencing emotional or psychological difficulties by referring them to psychologists in the community. The disadvantage of this is that one has to wait for an appointment, whereas a boy in a crisis often requires immediate intervention. The school chaplain also supported boys, particularly regarding spiritual matters. The value of having someone “on site” so to speak has become increasingly apparent as boys struggle with issues such as stress, depression and other crises typical of their life phase. Not all boys require intensive psychotherapy. Often counselling, which offers a supportive, as well as a problem solving element and focuses on issues in the here and now, is what is required.
In January 2007, St Andrew’s College appointed a social worker with experience in issues pertaining to positive mental health, as a part time school counsellor. In order to address the needs of the boys from a holistic perspective, Gunther Marx, Vice principal (Pastoral Care) has initiated the development of a team of staff members who meet once a cycle, (every 10 days) and are responsible for responding to and intervening with boys who are experiencing difficulties. This team is named “The Centre” which identifies them as the body for support and assistance, as well as the venue, the place where the support is provided, at the school. At the moment this is situated in the offices above Jooste kitchen. This venue is private and accessible to the boys.