STRONGMINDS FAQs

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

StrongMinds is the only organization working to scale a model to treat depression throughout Africa. 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 5-10  women with depression or anxiety, meeting for a 90-minute session 1-2x per week for 4-10 weeks. Groups can meet in person or by phone.

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

StrongMinds was founded in 2013 and began working in Uganda in 2014.  Since then, we have treated more than 80,000 women and adolescents through our in-person and phone-based group therapy model.

In which countries does StrongMinds operate?

We currently work in Uganda and Zambia, with plans to expand to other countries in 2021.

Where in Africa does StrongMinds plan to expands its efforts?

We have established offices in Uganda and Zambia. Further expansion through sub-Saharan Africa will be through partnerships with other NGOs already established in other countries.

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 and StrongMinds Zambia under a Master Collaboration Agreement.

What are the signs and symptoms of depression and anxiety?

Read about the signs and symptoms here

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 those 110 million 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.

RESOURCES

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.