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.

  • StrongMinds' Chief Operating Officer, Kari Frame, will be speaking at #MQScienceSummit on tomorrow, May 12, 2021. T… https://t.co/6ltq5YH2Ye
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  • May is Mental Health Awareness Month! Now more than ever, it is important to remember that 66 million women in Afri… https://t.co/ZenCGBC8oJ
  • StrongMinds Uganda's Country Director, Peter Okwi, meeting with Chief Administraive Officer and Resident District C… https://t.co/wQ2nSCgHL4
  • Peer Facilitators are former StrongMinds clients who experienced such remarkable recoveries that they now want to b… https://t.co/NtlyOGYTlY
  • StrongMinds Zambia moved into a brand new office recently, two years after arriving in Zambia! Congratulations to o… https://t.co/9OpIfFlBGf
  • Thanks to @thrive for featuring our work! https://t.co/tgxHl8QcGR
  • StrongMinds' Chief Operating Officer, Kari Frame, will be speaking at #MQScienceSummit on May 12, 2021. Find out mo… https://t.co/UppH3udpgn
  • This week, we were able to to launch our Peer Therapy Group program in Zambia! 30 women were trained and are now re… https://t.co/9tPxmDC8gu
  • RT @Viper_Hashtagim: There are 66 million women suffering from depression in Africa. Sean Mayberry of @MakeStrongMinds wants to help all…
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  • Happy #WorldHealthDay from StrongMinds! Thank you for helping us give African women better access to mental health… https://t.co/FAqnsfeirr
  • We need your help. Start a fundraising campaign today and help us raise $10,000 by World Health Day (April 7). With… https://t.co/qyUfczgMHg
  • StrongMinds' Zambia team is hiring! Check out our open positions here: M&E Officer - Deadline April 5… https://t.co/kQqvMEjqdl
  • Click here to read about how StrongMinds Zambia's teletherapy has expanded, and the impact being made across the co… https://t.co/ZdpMEqbYIf
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  • "Depression to me is when you are isolated from people. Like you are in a group of people and isolate yourself from… https://t.co/YESNSZmfGg
  • When you feel lonely, it can really hurt. But you are not alone. StrongMinds is here for you. Check out Amani, our… https://t.co/HOCh0H61UC