Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

StrongMinds is the only organization working to scale a model to treat depression throughout Africa — starting in Uganda. Our unique community-based models of group talk therapy are simple, innovative and cost-effective.

Why is there a need for Mental Health in Africa?

Most African governments spend less than 1% of their health budget on mental illness. Today in Uganda, there are approximately 30 psychologists in a country of close to 35 million people. An equivalent ratio in the West would be 3,500 psychologists for a similar population.

What does StrongMinds do?

StrongMinds treats African women with depression through talk therapy groups led by community workers.  Groups consist of 10-12 women with depression, meeting for a 90-minute session once a week for 12 weeks.

How many women does StrongMinds treat for depression in Africa per year?

StrongMinds was founded in 2013 and began working in Uganda in 2014.  In 2014, StrongMinds piloted its innovative talk therapy approach to treating depression in Uganda, treating 514 patients.  In 2015, StrongMinds treated 1,298 patients in Uganda.  In 2016, the StrongMinds treated 7,999 patients in Uganda. In 2017, the team treated 15,299 patients in Uganda. In 2019 we treated 70,000 women and adolescents.

In which countries does StrongMinds operate?

To date StrongMinds has primarily worked in Uganda, focusing on the poorest neighborhoods in Lusaka and in the more rural areas of Iganga and Mukono. In 2019 we expanded to Zambia, where we work in the Misisi District in Lusaka.

Where in Africa does StrongMinds plan to expands its efforts?

As of 2020, we have no plans to open officed in additional countries. Instead, we plan to expand by strategically partnering with NGOs to scale treatment to as manhy women as possible across the African sub-continent.

What is a Social Enterprise?

A social enterprise is an organization that leverages business strategies to maximize social improvements.  In StrongMinds’ case, we focus on increasing access to mental health services by scaling treatment for depression in Africa.  StrongMinds is an international non-governmental organization (INGO) and a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.  We work in collaboration with StrongMinds Uganda under a Master Collaboration Agreement.

How many women have depression in Africa?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), depression is a common mental disorder and is the leading cause of disability worldwide, and is a major contributor to the overall global burden of disease. WHO estimates that close to 10% of the world’s population is suffering from this mental illness and based on the total population of Africa (1.1 billion people – according to Population Reference Bureau) that would mean almost 110 million Africans are suffering from depression.  Experts agree women are affected by depression at twice the rate of men. With more than 60% of 110 million depressed being women, 66 million is a reasonable estimate of the number of women suffering from depression in Africa.

How does reducing depression benefit women in Africa?

We follow up with the women we treat six months after the conclusion of therapy to assess changes in their well-being. When women are depression-free, they they are able to work more and their children eat and go to school more regularly. They also report now having someone to turn to for emotional support.

What does depression-free mean?

StrongMinds’ goal is to have patients score under a 5 on the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9), which has nine questions.  The PHQ-9 is a multipurpose instrument used for screening, diagnosing, monitoring and measuring the severity of depression.  Scoring 1-4 is evaluated as Minimal Depression, and in lay terms this means that the individual is not able to be diagnosed with any significant level of depression, and is thus, depression-free.

Does StrongMinds work on individual cases?

No, StrongMinds, is focused on group talk therapy to stop the depression epidemic in Africa.  By treating women in a group setting, StrongMinds is able to treat more women with depression.

If an individual is not progressing with group therapy, StrongMinds will refer the participant to a facility that is capable of addressing their personal needs.  StrongMinds will continue to be in contact to ensure proper care.

Is my donation tax deductible and secure?

Yes! StrongMinds is a tax-exempt not-profit organization under IRS code 501(c)3. EIN: 46-2090059

Donations made to StrongMinds use Stripe™ to securely process credit card donations online without sharing any of your financial information.

StrongMinds does not share, sell, trade, or disclose your information with anyone.


Here are some great resources that will help you better understand depression and the impact on the lives of these women and their families in Africa.