A silent struggle
The pandemic has spread fear and stress no less than viral load. In Zambia our partner StrongMinds is well positioned to help provide the psychological care that women so desperately need.
The full or partial lockdowns imposed to contain COVID-19 have been described as “the largest psychological experiment in the world”. It’s an experiment few would have volunteered to join. Forced isolation has stripped away most of our regular routines - a critical part of well-being - dissolving them in an anxious and uncertain future.
In short, and perhaps unsurprisingly, the pandemic has spread fear and stress no less than viral load. Loss of livelihood, money concerns and anxiety over where the next meal is coming from are hitting vulnerable families hard.
Our partner organisation StrongMinds runs a pioneering programme to treat women with depression in extremely poor communities in Africa. This programme trains community workers to become mental health facilitators and lead group talk therapy sessions, a proven technique, supported by clinical trial success and approved by the WHO.
We are funding StrongMinds to replicate the model they’ve developed in Uganda and apply it in Zambia, a country with just one psychiatric hospital and a total of seven psychiatrists for a population of 17 million people. Since they began a little over one year ago, they’ve treated over 1,400 women living in one of Lusaka’s largest slums.
Currently poised to become the Zambian National Ministry of Health’s technical advisor on mental health, StrongMinds is well positioned to help provide the psychological care that is so desperately needed in the country.
More than ever, we want to be there for those who are struggling with fear, stress, anxiety, anger, irritability and emotional exhaustion.