2020 World Pandemic: A yield for Closeness

In March 2020, a national lockdown was declared in South Africa. As the country came to a still and quiet chaos filled the nation, the arts-therapy community started to speak up. Opportunities were created to offer support during a time of isolation and hardship, one of which arose as Frontline Support-A student inspired initiative.

Frontline support was created by Nethanielle Mattison, a final year music therapy master’s student who wanted to offer psychological and emotional support to Frontline Healthcare Workers during the Covid-19 crisis. She appealed for arts therapists (Music, drama, dance/movement, etc.) across South Africa to join forces and form a service. Shortly after, the service was opened to the general public in response to the rapidly escalating psychosocial crises caused by lockdown, specifically in marginalised and poverty-stricken communities. This also allowed students to volunteer their time and complete clinical hours that would have been lost due to the pandemic. A data fund has been set up to campaign for Government and telecommunication service providers to help FS find creative ways that volunteers and clients can have access to free data/airtime to increase easy access and mental health support for all.

In a season of distant grief, uncertainty and endless questions, a community came together and offered opportunity for unity and closeness to emerge. May we lift our heads, take the next step, and stay encouraged during these times.

Calsey Schroeder
WFMT Student Delegate for Africa