Newsletter

2018-2026

TREATING WOMEN’S DEPRESSION

© Karin Schermbrucker / Cartier Philanthropy

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2018-2026

Strongminds

StrongMinds works to treat women and adolescents in Africa who suffer from depression. Its simple and cost-efficient model of group therapy focuses on women living in poor communities. Since 2018, we have been supporting StrongMinds to adapt and replicate in Zambia the model it has successfully developed in Uganda. During the COVID-19 pandemic StrongMinds developed Africa’s first phone-based group therapy for depression. Since 2023 we’re also funding the US-based programme branch of StrongMinds to promote mental health and emotional well-being of women and youth living in under-resourced communities.

CHALLENGE

Mental health is the most neglected health problem in less-developed countries. In Africa, depression affects 1 in 23 women, and the overwhelming majority have no access to treatment or support services. In the United States more than 21 million Americans suffer from depression each year. Communities of colour are disproportionately affected due to racial disparities across systems of care. The World Bank considers mental health disorders “the greatest thief of productive economic life”.

© Karin Schermbrucker / Cartier Philanthropy

INTERVENTION

IN SOUTHERN AFRICA

StrongMinds trains and supervises community workers to become mental health facilitators and to lead group therapy sessions. These target women with depression in poor communities, where the prevalence of depression is as high as 30%.

StrongMinds’ therapy is available in person or by phone. In groups, ten to 12 women meet for weekly 90-minute group therapy sessions. Over 6-10 sessions, the participants learn how to identify the triggers of depression, share strategies to overcome their symptoms and build long-term resilience.

StrongMinds’ model enables women who have completed their group therapy sessions to be trained to lead their own peer therapy groups, multiplying the organisation’s impact. The organisation also works with governments and NGOs to integrate mental health services into livelihood, food security, healthcare, and education programmes.

IN THE UNITED STATES

StrongMinds America brings mental health education and group therapy to youth (16-25) across New Jersey and New York. The no-cost group counseling is facilitated by skilled, culturally competent mental health professionals.

From depression to recovery

IMPACT

468,000
+

WOMEN AND ADOLESCENTS

treated for depression since StrongMinds’ creation in 2013 in Uganda and Zambia

+80
%

OF WOMEN AND ADOLESCENTS

who completed group therapy are “depression-free” after six months

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© Karin Schermbrucker / Cartier Philanthropy

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© Karin Schermbrucker / Cartier Philanthropy

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© Karin Schermbrucker / Cartier Philanthropy

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© Karin Schermbrucker / Cartier Philanthropy

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© Karin Schermbrucker / Cartier Philanthropy

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© Karin Schermbrucker / Cartier Philanthropy

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© Karin Schermbrucker / Cartier Philanthropy

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© Karin Schermbrucker / Cartier Philanthropy

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© Karin Schermbrucker / Cartier Philanthropy