Model & Strategy

StrongMinds focuses on the most pervasive and debilitating mental illness in Africa, which is also the number one cause of disability for women on that continent:  depression.  There are 60 million women in Africa who suffer this mental illness, and 85% of them have no access to treatment.  StrongMinds presently operates in Uganda, where 1 out of every 4 women suffers from depression.

As the only organization with a model specifically designed to scale a solution for depression throughout Africa, StrongMinds provides a simple, innovative and cost effective approach by using a community-based model of group talk therapy to treat depression among sufferers.  These talk therapy groups use a structured model over three months and help group members identify and manage their triggers of depression—without the use of trained medical personnel or medications. Members of these groups also forge strong social bonds with their fellow depressed peers, and most of these groups continue to meet over the long term after formal sessions end.  These self-perpetuating groups permit members to reinforce the skills they have learned and also enable the women to manage and prevent their future depressive episodes.

Logo
At a Glance
Founded: 2013
Founder & Executive Director: Sean Mayberry
Health
Location of work: International, Africa
StrongMinds
Maplewood, NJ
Treating depression at scale in Africa
Two African women speaking on the steps of an African home
Sean Mayberry
Meet Sean Mayberry

Sean is a former diplomat and social marketer who believes there are simple and cost-effective interventions which can improve an area that is often overlooked when addressing development: mental health. While living and working in Africa for nearly a decade implementing HIV/AIDS and malaria programs, he saw first-hand the struggles and lack of access for those suffering from mental illness and was inspired to create a solution. In 2013, he discovered the findings of a randomized control trial from 2002 in which group talk therapy was successfully used in Uganda to treat depression—and the idea for StrongMinds was born. Sean left his position as the CEO of a global anti-poverty organization and founded StrongMinds, using his family’s savings and volunteering full-time for the first two years, choosing to divert all the team’s limited donor funds into the Uganda program and ultimately prove that the group talk therapy model could work at scale.

IMPACT

Since starting fieldwork in 2014, StrongMinds has reached over 43,000 depressed women and some men in Uganda. After completing the 12-week group therapy, more than 75% of these women were depression-free. Two years later, approximately 78% of these women were still able to prevent depressive episodes. Approximately 75% of the groups continue to meet and support each other following the treatment period.

Most recent data show: Work productivity: 12% increase in patients who report they have not missed significant work/economic activity in the past seven days.

Food Security: 13% increase in patients who report that they and their children consumed three or more meals in the past 24 hours.

School Absenteeism: 22% decrease in women who report their children missed school over the past week.

Social support: 15% increase in patients who report having someone in their lives they can turn to for support.

  • Listen to this new episode of the Clearer Thinking podcast to learn why depression is rising globally and how Stron… https://t.co/VX8ead2ZbP
  • RT @AwesomeMindSpks: TBT: On our journey to making young people’s mental health a national priority, we are proud to have added a voice ont…
  • IPT-G training for our Peer Facilitators (PFs) in Chaisa last week!! 🇿🇲 🙌🏿
  • Zambia's frontline health worker training was in full swing last week. 🇿🇲 Upon completion, 32 FHWs will work with t… https://t.co/sV4sgNPRQI
  • "I thank StrongMinds because they came at the right time to save me," said former StrongMinds client, Mary. "I have… https://t.co/bTmZYgu2qd
  • SMZ is kicking off the new year with a ton of positive momentum. 🌟 This week, 20 mental health facilitators (MHFs)… https://t.co/4JAoYv9Ae1
  • We're elated to be showcased on @CharityNav's list of best charities working in high-impact causes! https://t.co/65GdnuEitX
  • RT @devex: .@HappierLivesIns took the charities recommended by GiveWell, then evaluated their impact in terms of how much happiness they br…
  • A new year = new opportunities to make a huge difference!
  • We accomplished so much together in 2022. 🎊 THANK YOU for making this past year our best one yet!
  • RT @OECD: 🗣️ "For every individual woman treated for depression, an estimated 4 members of her family benefit." The impact of addressing u…
  • May your holiday season be filled with peace, joy, and good mental health. ✨
  • RT @MichaelDPlant: Many people are recommending @GiveDirectly because it's simple, which it is. But, your donations would probably do 10x m…
  • 2023 is approaching fast. ⏩ Don't miss your chance to donate before the year ends. Give today:… https://t.co/ehHjLjvP2s
  • Betty isn't just a teacher. She's a mental health facilitator. Because she can weave group therapy into her school… https://t.co/ASgeGMYmAk
  • Job Alert! 🔔 Are you interested in playing a significant role in #HumanResources? We're seeking a dedicated Learnin… https://t.co/H5raYRpqsV
  • RT @HappierLivesIns: @ItsRachelDobbs We’ve done over 10,000 hours of research on this question and we recommend @MakeStrongMinds https://…
  • RT @redouad: 7% of my donations went to @MakeStrongMinds. StrongMinds is a nonprofit that provides effective treatment for women strugglin…
  • At 16 years old, Gabriele stood before parliament to advocate for mental health policies in schools. Now, millions… https://t.co/wwosHLLOVY
  • Give the gift of essential care this holiday season with life-changing depression treatment in Africa. Donate now:… https://t.co/PXUSrCDZqF