Counsellors for Mothers

PMHP fundraising campaign
for more mental health care for mothers in Hanover Park

The Perinatal Mental Health Project is responding to an increased need for mental health care among mothers in Hanover Park, Cape Town.

Recognising the vulnerability of pregnant and postpartum women in the area, the PMHP strives to provide a space for effective care and recovery, with our comprehensive mental health service. The provision of a safe space, both physically and psychologically, gives women the opportunity to prioritise their mental health and draw on their resilience and capabilities.

Since 2011, we have provided a mental health service which is integrated into the Hanover Park Midwife Obstetric Unit (MOU), where our counsellors offer mental health information, screening, counselling, case management and follow up care to women attending antenatal and postnatal care.

During Women’s Month 2021, we started the Counsellors for Mothers (#C4Mothers) fundraising campaign so you can support our quest for more mental health care for mothers!
With #C4Mothers, we aim to raise funds to keep an additional part-time counsellor in our Hanover Park team which will provide much-needed mental health support for the mothers in the area.

Donate online now

Hanover Park is a low-income community in Cape Town, South Africa. People who live here are exposed to chronic levels of trauma: poverty, food insecurity, gang violence and domestic violence. Women who require routine antenatal and postnatal care, must navigate the risks of gang presence to access services at the clinic. Hanover Park is often described as a ‘warzone’ and community members carry the burden of this reality.


The COVID-19 pandemic has placed unforeseen, additional social and psychological burden and exposure to human rights violations for marginalised populations, such as pregnant and postpartum women living in adversity.

The pandemic has amplified the risk factors generally associated with poor mental health – food insecurity, domestic violence, unemployment, lack of support. On the other hand, protective factors – social connection, employment and access to health services – have diminished dramatically. This has led to increased levels of anxiety and depression globally, but particularly among already vulnerable populations such as those living in Hanover Park.

There have been devastating mental health consequences which will likely have a long-term societal impact. Women have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic in terms of loss of income, escalation in levels of domestic violence, increased social isolation and caretaking responsibilities – all of which, in turn, have led to extremely high levels of depression and anxiety, particularly in those who are pregnant or in the early postpartum years.

Furthermore, the lockdown in South Africa has prevented many vital experiences for women during their pregnancy and beyond, including the restriction of partners being able to attend scans, labour and childbirth, and the ability for new parents to share their experience and seek reassurance from friends, family and social groups. These supportive measures were further restricted by the fact that most women living in Hanover Park and the surrounding areas, do not have access to data, smart phones, the internet etc.


The PMHP response to increased mental health needs during COVID-19

We responded strategically to help women during the pandemic by adapting our service, offering digital/remote support where possible and adding another counsellor to our Clinical Services team. An increase in counsellors means more time spent working directly with mothers to support them and their mental health.

We expanded our services by engaging in mental health promotion, prevention and preparation (PPP) with all women attending the MOU, through daily waiting room discussions. These talks, facilitated by our counsellors, are designed to orientate mothers to the rationale and processes of our on-site service and to impart more broadly, self-detection, self-referral and self-care skills for mental health. We supplement these talks by handing out our series of client pamphlets.

We have also added an additional component to our stepped-care model, namely the Engagement, Assessment and Triage (EAT) session. Here, the counsellor engages with clients who have screened positive on the brief Maternal Distress Tool, provided in the national maternity stationery, and conducts a more in-depth assessment to find out whether further care is necessary and what level of care is required. Women with low risk or milder symptoms are offered supportive counselling, while those with more severe symptoms or greater risk factors are offered psychotherapeutic counselling with a more experienced counsellor.

We formed a close partnership with a nearby organisation, the Alcardo Andrews Foundation, which provides cooked meals and food parcels to those in the community who face food insecurity. Our clients have direct access to these services and seamless cross-referral processes have been established between the two organisations.



The #C4Mothers campaign

To enable us to offer this comprehensive counselling support for mothers in Hanover Park we need to raise additional funds!

Tyla Prinsloo joined our team in February this year and is employed on a part-time, short-term contract. She has become a vital team member to provide PPP and EAT sessions and her impact has already been recognised by her colleagues, the mothers she works with and the community of Hanover Park.

For her to continue, we appeal to you to help us raise funds to secure her position for another year.

With your contribution, we can continue to work together with mothers and their children by providing a safe space for care and healing!

There are many ways to donate to the PMHP!
Please help us reach our target of R250.000 by using this link to

Donate online now

If you require a tax certificate and want to make a donation from outside of South Africa see the options below.

Bless you all for the work you do. I feel very privileged to be able to have some relation to it.
Josie Grindrod, Lucky Bean Trust

Make a donation from:

University of Cape Town Donations Account

Contact: Sally Field

Position: Project Coordinator

Tel: +27 21 689 8390
Fax: +27 86 6482844


Banking Details:

Bank: Standard Bank of South Africa Limited

Account Name: UCT Donations Account

Branch: Rondebosch

Branch Code: 02 50 09

Branch Address: Belmont Road, Rondebosch, 7700 Cape Town, Republic of South Africa

Account Number: 07 152 2387

Type of Account: Current

Swift address: SBZAZAJJ

Reference: PMHP donation – ‘your name/company’

Once a deposit or electronic payment has been made, please notify UCT by email at explaining what the donation is for.

You can also donate directly through this online form: UCT PMHP donation

Tax exemption: Section 18A(1)(a) of the Income Tax Act

University of Cape Town Fund, Inc.

Contact: Shireen Badat

Position: US Director of Alumni & Development

Tel: +1 917 300 3865



Address: 1323 East 43rd Street, Box 526, New York, NY 10017

Tax exemption: The UCT Fund is registered with the US Internal Revenue Service as a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organisation.

UCT Trust

Contact: Angela Edwards

Position: Consultant Director, University of Cape Town Trust

Tel: +44 1372 477116

Fax: +44 1372 477118



Address: 83A High Street, Esher, KT10 9QA, UK

Tax exemption: UK registered Charity Number 803042

The University of Cape Town, Regional Office: Canada

Contact: Diane Stafford

Position: Regional Director: Development & Alumni Relations

Tel: 416 648 5801

Fax: 416 363 8451



Address: 2927 Lake Shore Blvd W, Suite 227, Toronto M8V 1J3

Tax exemption: Charitable Registration No. 89131 5947 RR0001. ‘Prescribed university’ under Section 118.1 of the Canadian Income Tax Act (Schedule VIII, item No. 19).

UCT Australian Trust

Contact: Lenore Plummer

Tel: +61 29 248 0313

Cell: +61 41 603 4971



Address: Level 9, 45 Clarence Street, Sydney NSW 2000

Tax exemption: ABN 16316957875

Contact: Ruth Thornton

Tel: +61 29 973 3807

Cell: +61 41 422 4494

E-mail:  rjthornton1@bigpond. com


Address: 5 Elvina Avenue, Avalon NSW 2107

Tax exemption: ABN 1631695787