StrongMinds provides free personal and group therapy to low-income women suffering from depression in Uganda and Zambia. This therapy is greatly needed due to a severe lack of mental health services in these regions.

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66 million women suffer from depression in Africa

Probeem

Free group therapy for low-income women in Zambia and Uganda

Solution

80% of participants are cured of depression following therapy

Impact

Problem

Depression is the most prevalent mental illness in the world. According to the Centre for Disease Control, 350 million people worldwide suffer from depression. The World Bank considers it “the greatest thief of productive economic life,” with an annual global cost of $2.5 trillion.

Africa is no exception with about 100 million people suffering from the disease. Depression is the number one cause of disability in African women. Women are also twice as likely to be depressed compared to men in Africa. To make matters worse, there is a severe lack of investment in mental health care in these regions. 85% of people with depression on the African continent – including 66 million women – have no access to effective treatment.

Depression leaves more people disabled in Africa than cancer, heart disease or HIV/AIDS. It can affect someone’s life for months, years or even decades. An African woman with depression endures a significantly higher amount of suffering compared to her healthy peers; she is less productive, earns a lower income and is more likely to have poor physical health. If she is a mother, the negative impacts of her depression extend to her whole family.

Solution

StrongMinds provides a solution by scaling up a cost-effective depression treatment programme that serves tens of thousands of people each year. The organisation provides free personal and group therapy to low-income women in Uganda and Zambia so that they can overcome depression and restore their mental wellbeing. This gives women the chance to lead healthy, productive and fulfilling lives – an opportunity all humans should have. StrongMinds is the only organisation that treats depression on a large scale in Africa.

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Impact

StrongMinds has treated more than 140,000 women and adolescents for depression since 2014 using its cost-effective, evidence-based therapy model. The results are impressive. 80% of participants in StrongMinds’ group therapy are depression free following completion of the treatment. A women successfully recovering from depression has some knock-on effects, such as:

● her family eats more meals a day
● she is engaged in more work/economic activity
● her children go to school more often.

For every woman treated, an average of four other family members share in the benefits.

Review from Founders Pledge
Review from Happier Lives Institute

To invest in mental health is to invest in human resilience

Organisation

StrongMinds is een non-profitorganisatie, opgericht in 2013, die geestelijke gezondheidszorg biedt aan arme Afrikaanse vrouwen en zo hun levens verandert.

StrongMinds is a non-profit organisation founded in 2013 that provides mental health treatment to impoverished women in Africa, changing their lives for the better.

StrongMinds was founded by Sean Mayberry, a former diplomat and social marketeer. When Sean was living and working in Africa he noticed that mental health was an often neglected aspect in international aid and development which had devastating consequences. He came up with the idea for StrongMinds after being inspired by a study in Uganda that reported remarkable success in treating depression with group interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT-G) (Verdeli et al., 2003).

StrongMinds has been a data and evidence-driven organisation since its foundation and is constantly evaluating its performance and treatment outcomes.

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