With the growing number of depression among youth in South Africa at large, the club’s management has enlisted mental health specialists, Cloud Therapist to equip youth and senior players at AmaZulu to navigate through on and off-the-field challenges.
AmaZulufc.net sat down with Cloud Therapist Communications Manager, Bianca Adam in a Q & A interview to better understand the importance of the exciting pilot project the company has begun enrolling at Usuthu.
AFC: Please could you introduce your organisation and the concept behind the program?
BA: Cloud Therapist is a digital mental health platform providing mental health in an accessible, efficient and cost-effective way. Through our virtual platform, we ensure that every individual in need of mental well-being gets immediate help no matter where they are situated in the world. Cloud therapist has a number of mental health experts ranging from a psychologist to registered counsellors and social workers. On our platform, users can do a range of mental health activities, such as screening, meditation and booking to have a session with a mental health expert. The platform is accessible at your fingertips providing comprehensive mental health intervention to individuals and corporate organizations.
AFC: What made you decide on working with AmaZulu?
BA: Cloud therapist is very passionate about youth empowerment. We have seen a surge in the number of suicide cases, particularly in young men, and as a result, we have crafted an intervention program that seeks to grow young men in spaces they are most comfortable. Soccer is one of the most influential sports, and in KZN AmaZulu is one of the leading teams and has a great heritage in sports. AmaZulu provides a golden opportunity for young men to be trained and groomed for the world of professional soccer.
For this reason, we have identified synergy between physical and mental health, more importantly; the role mental health plays in overall performance. Our program incorporates education and awareness around issues of mental health.
AFC: Do you often work with young clients?
BA: Yes, we have had the privilege of working with young men and women through our Schools Activations program. We have a number of schools we work with. Focusing on both girls and boys.
AFC: What do you plan to help the club on?
BA: Our intervention is designed into 3 legs: namely Mental health Awareness, Education and Intervention. We present a solution for screening, where we detect issues of depression, PTSD, substance abuse and GBV. From there, we then prepare a comprehensive mental health intervention.
We will be focusing this intervention from under 13 to the senior Team. Poor mental health can have a negative impact on athletes’ performance as well as their private life. We want to bring about a psychosocial element that will enhance the club’s ability to perform, not only for the players but the coaching staff as well.
AFC: How would you sum up the feedback from the very first session this week from the U13 boys?
BA: The under 13 boys were very responsive. They interacted with our team and participated in every exercise. Overall the feedback was very positive and set a good tone for the remaining programs set for the AmaZulu club.
AFC: Do you feel the virtual approach to wellness is likely to yield more success than the more traditional person-to-person counselling?
BA: Digital therapy has been introduced to complement the traditional form of therapy. It is set apart by the fact that it combats issues around location, travel and efficiency. Therefore, the digital approach is more likely to yield better results.
AFC: Anything you wish to add?
BA: We would like to thank AmaZulu FC for taking the issue of mental health seriously. We are excited to partner up and introduce programs that are going to have a positive impact on the lives of the players.
Cloud Therapist is a team made up of four individuals who fall under different roles within the company: Londeka Sishi, Senior Manager; Anele Mcetywa, Brand Manager; Sabelo Gumede, Managing Psychologist and Bianca Adam, Communications Manager.
They can be reached on their website and social media platforms: