Student health and wellness

27 January 2023
Campus Life 2023 - Student Wellness
Photo Emily Underworld, Unsplash.

UCT works hard to create a safe and nurturing environment for all our students. We offer you a wide range of support services with the understanding that your wellness goes beyond physical health. Our services include health counselling, mental health services, and support for students with disabilities.

Student Wellness Service

The Student Wellness Service (SWS) provides medical and counselling services to students at a primary healthcare level. The service is there to help you make healthy lifestyle choices about nutrition, alcohol, safe sex, relationships, and stress management, among others – all in support of academic success.

The SWS offers:

  • Medical service: Make an appointment on the UCT App or SWS website for an online or face-to-face consultation with a clinical nurse practitioner or medical practitioner at the SWS. The service offers support for acute and chronic conditions like asthma, diabetes and tuberculosis and helps with minor surgical procedures.
  • Pharmacy service: This service option is available only to students who have a valid prescription from an SWS clinician. Essential medication is sold at a cost price. Students can book for the collection of repeat medication online. 
  • Mental health support: Counselling services are available via an appointment for a virtual or face-to-face consultation with a psychologist, social worker or registered counsellor. There is the Ivan Toms clinic as well as satellite offices around campus. Students need to confirm the consultation venue with the therapist after making a booking on the UCT App or SWS website. SWS provides mental health support and can make referrals for specialised support and care.
    • The UCT Student Careline is a telephonic service available 24/7 on 0800 24 25 26 (free from a Telkom line) or you can SMS 31393 for a call-back. They offer counselling, advice, referral facilities and general support if you are facing any mental health challenges or emotional distress.  
    • Download the Panda App for online mental health and well-being support in the palm of your hand. Access free, anonymous and virtual group support sessions in the Panda Forest as well as various other mental health resources through the Panda app.
      Step 1: Search for “Join Panda” in the IOS, Android or Huawei app store.
      Step 2: Download the app and create an anonymous user profile.
      Step 3: Use the promo code “SWSCares” to unlock free one-to-one text-based chat support sessions.
  • Sexual health support: HIV testing and counselling, medication for sexually transmitted infections, and basic contraceptives are provided free of charge.

SWS gives you easy access to a clinical nurse practitioner, psychologist, social worker, counsellors and peer educators via their online platform.

Campus Life 2023 - Student Wellness
Photo Brenton Geach.

Students can call and obtain nursing advice on the triage line on 021 650 5620 from 08:30 to 16:30.

In a medical emergency, call the Campus Protection Services Risk Operation Centre at 021 650 2222 to dispatch the UCT Medical Emergency Response Team.

Ivan Toms Building
28 Rhodes Avenue
021 650 1017/20

Queries may be sent to the SWS practice manager at

For more information visit the SWS website.

Disability Service

UCT’s Disability Service, which is situated in the Office for Inclusivity & Change, works towards removing all physical, policy, information and attitudinal barriers that might prevent disabled students and staff from fulfilling their potential. Whether this means improving building access, arranging for extra time during exams or employing sign-language interpreters, the Disability Service is there to support you.

Campus Life 2023 - Student Wellness
Photo Lerato Maduna.

The Disability Service’s work includes:

  • disability advocacy and sensitisation
  • improving access to venues and allocating disabled parking according to UCT Traffic policy
  • providing accessible transport between residences and lectures
  • specific mobility orientation for staff and students with disabilities
  • providing accessible residence accommodation
  • providing lecture and study materials in an accessible format for persons with sensory impairments
  • student support, psychological education and assessment for mental health concerns and specific learning disorders
  • facilitating extra-time applications and/or other accommodations around exams
  • supporting the development of academics to ensure accessible education.

Steve Biko Students Union Building
Level 6
Upper Campus
021 650 2427

Visit their website


Campus Life 2023 - Student Wellness
Photo Lerato Maduna.

While UCT has an array of services to help you navigate life at the university, you don’t always know who to contact when you’re in need, particularly in moments of distress.

The UCT Central Advising and Referral System (UCT CARES) is a central point of contact for the information and services you need.

Send your queries to and a CARES agent will either respond with the relevant, general information or they will refer you to the relevant department.

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