Treating Depression in Adolescents in Zambia during COVID-19 | StrongMinds

Treating Depression in Adolescents in Zambia during COVID-19

When life doesn’t go as planned, adjusting to new circumstances can be difficult. In some cases, it can lead to anxiety and depression.

Clara, * a 14-year old girl in 9th grade is the second youngest of six children, and the only girl.  She lives in a densely populated compound in Lusaka with her family, supported by her single mother.  “My mother works very hard to make ends meet. She runs a business to put food on the table, pay the rent and send us to school,” Clara explains.

Clara’s life changed when the coronavirus broke out in Lusaka. Her mother’s business crashed and she was not able to send Clara to school anymore. “I spent my time at home doing nothing. Slowly, I lost interest in being in school.”

The life changes brought about by the coronavirus—having to leave school and her mother losing income—triggered Clara’s depression. “Being out of school was depressing. Seeing my mother not being able to provide for us made things worse. In my heart, I always wished there was something I could do about it”.

Clara joined StrongMinds therapy sessions through the DREAMS Center. She never missed a session. Clara set herself the goal of going back to school, but she did not know how it would happen. During the group session, one of her fellow girls suggested that Clara should approach one of the mentors from the center to find out if she qualified to be on DREAMS program for young girls. The feedback given was positive. The mentor signed her up for the program and she was promised to see the mentor once schools open.

“In our free time, the girls and I spend time going through some subjects that I am not good at. This has helped me develop an interest in going back to school. If not for StrongMinds conducting such a program, I would still be hurting and depressed. I am grateful for them.”

Clara wishes to finish high school, go to university and study medicine. She hopes to get a job and start supporting her mother who is still struggling with her business.

*Name has been changed for privacy reasons