2020 PHOTO GALLERY
New Youth Bench Attachment Students
20-29 JULY 2020
Every year the Friendship Bench takes on a group of students who are required to do an industrial attachment before returning to their respective universities for final year of studies.
The students take the lead in the Youth Friendship Bench programme. They get trained in the Friendship Bench approach with added youth focused modules. Once the 8 days training is complete they are ready to deliver the PST intervention as peer counsellors in the community.
Obviously this year we will be doing it a bit differently, we've taken the Youth Buddies online! Covid-19 has been an encouraging force to take this step and so far online talk therapy has been embrace in the Youth demographic. We look forward to seeing how the latest students work on community mobilisation as they create awareness of positive mental health and the virtual Youth Friendship Bench.
Chitungwiza Stakeholders Gathering For Scale-Up
13 JULY 2020
When we go into a town or village, urban or rural area. it is vital that we meet with Stakeholders before hand. Relationship building and learning to understand what the situation is on the ground is a key element to the success of the Friendship Bench, no two places will ever be the same, we need to listen to the stories from all levels of the community.
In Chitungwiza we met with the office directors, District Health Promotion Officers, the Matron in charge, the Sisters in charge, the Lay Health WOrkers as well as Friendship Bench beneficiaries. This was a very attentive group of 14 people, eager to motivate their low performing clinics to reach and deliver mental health care to more people in their community.
Gweru Grandmothers; first face to face training since Covid-19 lockdown!
JUNE 2020 (GWERU)
A group of FB trainers, coordinators and assistants travelled to Gweru to teach 28 Grandmothers about the Friendship Bench Intervention as part of our national scale-up plan.
We were greeted by blue skies, green grass and eager to learn Lay Health Workers!
The Problem Solving Therapy was well received, the Grandmothers are full of energy and ready to start mobilising in their community. Role plays went well and we have great confidence in their ability to connect and communicate empathy to clients who seek their support.
Online Training with the Friendship Bench Grandmothers
Lockdown continues, covid-19 anxiety is high, starvation is consuming the nation, unemployment is widespread, reports of domestic violence stream in and substance misuse is rife. Training our Grandmothers in the online delivery of Problem Solving Therapy has been a high priority of ours in the face of all these problems
Over 5 days we used Whatsapp to teach our Grandmothers how to make the shift from sitting on the bench to being able to use Whatsapp to effectively help their communities. We are so grateful for the open minded Grandmothers who have taken to the online delivery like ducks to water!
Circle Kubatana Tose
One thing that COVID19 hasn’t stopped is the Grandmother and clients Circle Kubatana Tose gardens!
Started just before Zimbabwe’s Lockdown they are doing amazing. This new leaf (no pun intended) is our latest behavioural activation & income generation component to the Friendship Bench intervention.
Lockdown Lightened! Which meant we could take a trip to check in on the Grandmothers in Gweru & Chitungwiza
MAY 2020 (GWERU & CHI TOWN)
Past 2 weeks have been inspiring and enlightening. Being able to travel meant we could not only deliver masks to our Grandmothers but also start their online WhatsApp training so they can continue to 'see' clients and provide the much needed safe space to talk about their current problems. There are alot of people not knowing how to feed their families, hungry children and bored youths because schools are still shut. Everyone needs someone to talk to, an empathic ear who listens and cares.
Mask distribution and hand washing guides for Grandmothers during covid-19 pandemic.
APRIL-MAY 2020 (HARARE)
There is no escaping the pandemic, this past month has involved a lot of adaptation and improvisation. Lockdown in Zimbabwe has been a struggle, with no food stores, rise in domestic violence and continued closure of the informal sector we need mental health care now more than ever.
Huge thank you to the Old Legs Cycle Tour for donation of masks for the FB Grandmothers, to African Threads for the miles of masks sewn and to The Rafiki Network for coordinating everything.
Permaculture Training On the Edge of Lockdown.
Just before the Covid19 Zimbabwe Lockdown was announced we started training our next group of Grandmothers and some Friendship Bench beneficiaries in permaculture.
We had a successful trial at one of the clinics and so are working to carry this behavioural activation and income generation component of the intervention throughout all clinics.
Watch this space for organic vegetables and drop in SSQ scores!
Uni Friendship Bench Buddies taking part in the Colour Run
9 March 2020
We want students to know
YOUR FEELINGS ARE VALID and
MAKE YOUR MENTAL HEALTH YOUR PRIORITY
Piloting a new CKT: Permaculture gardening
20-28 February 2020
Imagine you could grow, pick, eat and sell produce that will nourish, sustain and support you & your family... We want to provide people with the knowledge needed to bring this to life.
With the help of a passionate farmer, gardener, sustainable liver Linda Gabriel (IG page link) we have started to train a group of clients and LHW in the principles of sustainable gardening.
We believe problems can be fixed in gardens.
FBPlus - ASSET
Health System Strengthening
17-24 February 2020
FBplus, a collaborative research project between ASSET and ourselves had a busy month with all ASSET projects meeting for their annual meeting in Addis Ababa and then hosting a Theory of Change workshop here in Harare.
Both produced some gems of information and best practices in going forward into the 2020 year.
find out more about ASSET and our research, funded by NIHR, in partnership with Kings Global Health KCL.
Welcome DRK Nathalie & Katie to FB!
3-7 February 2020
The Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation was founded on a belief in the power of innovation and the conviction that with bold support, passionate individuals with great ideas can change the world.
With this in mind we are extremely honoured that they have come to visit the Friendship Bench and met with the Grandmothers at Hatcliff Clinic. There is a lot in the pipe line, watch this space for high impact at scale.
We're making new friends around the world who are earnest drivers of change for good and this is encouraging.
Find out more about the
Seke North & South
One of the Friendship Bench values is 'continued learning'. So we have started to visit the Friendship Bench Clinics to carry out refresher courses with all community health workers and to share some findings of what the 2019 RE-AIM evaluation from team Optimise FB brought to light.
It's great to see the Grandmothers still know their PST steps and they are open to new methods of data collection. It also great that they are sharing their experiences and suggestions of improvements to the system to get it as optimally working for quality mental health care as possible.
Youth Friendship Bench Student Supervision.
9th JANUARY 2020
Dr. Ruth Verhey is back at it with the Youth Friendship Bench students. Supervision happens twice a month and is a time where the Dr engages the students in all that is taboo, stigmatised, discriminated against and in general would make for awkward conversation for many. Not on our watch, this is the generation of the future and the time for change is now.
For anyone wondering, the red object is a 3D printed clitoris! Find put more here
Matapi Flats new years greetings.
3rd JANUARY 2020
New decade, same strong resilient women raising their families in Matapi Flats, Mbare.
With the bit of rain we got in December the Friendship Bench garden was full of green vegetables and egg plants. A great way to start the year was visiting the women of Matapi Flats.
Majority of them are widows, now too old to work, many look after their grandchildren while their children go out and work or for some they they are now the parents of their grandchildren having lost their own children.
Clinic visits start.
Community building takes time, our plan for 2020 is to spend as much time as possible at clinics supporting the Grandmothers and ensuring they have the resources they need so they can deliver the best possible intervention.
The Grandmothers receive so much community respect because of the work they do, from being true to their beliefs and being non-judgemental to those around them. We don't believe this is rocket science, we believe this can be achieve in all communities with the right ingredients.
They truly are our core.
2019 PHOTO GALLERY
GACD, OptFB Stakeholder Meeting
17-19 OCTOBER 2019
Stakeholders meeting before going forward with the Qualitative component of the Optimise Friendship Bench project, working with The Global Alliance for Chronic Diseases.
Thank you everyone for a great workshop! Dr. Verhey, Dr. Chibanda, Dr. Healey, Dr. Wagenaar, Dr Araya, Grandmothers, Grandfather, FB team, Nurses, Clients, Ministry reps & lunch time Chefs! Onwards into the qualitative phase!
Facilitating training at Bindura University; to get accessible and affordable mental health care on campus
There’s so much to be enjoyed at uni, but for some people, it can be a time of loneliness, exam anxiety, of being weighed down by worries about relationships & finances.
We are so excited that approval has come through from Bindura University of Science Education and the Social Work faculty is on board and eager to get mental health care onto their campus.
We did weekend trainings with the BUSE students and could not have asked for a better group of enthusiastic students.
This is our trial University, we are looking to 2020 to go into more.
CeSHHAR Theory of Change Workshop
SEPTEMBER 19, 2019
The Centre for Sexual Health and HIV/AIDS Research Zimbabwe (CeSHHAR) houses a number of HIV prevention and sexual health research and programmatic projects.
Over the years we have met CeSHHAR employees who then contacted us to see about setting up a Friendship Bench that has a key focus on sex workers in Zimbabwe.
We had an amazing Theory of Change Workshop where all key stakeholders were present, including a group of sex workers and the Grandmothers.
"We would never want to take away the option of sex work but we want to create spaces for mental health support .We want people to practice safely & have a place to go to share their feelings where there is deep understanding and no judgement. #TheoryOfChange"
Friendship Bench Open House training in PST
SEPTEMBER 9-13, 2019
Many organisations are requesting the Friendship Bench, we have started with trainings for those organisations we are already working close with on projects or who we have been in contact with in other areas of research activities over the past few years. This was a great training to see how people who do not necessarily work in a mental health care or even social work industry take to the approach. We see more and more that diversity brings wisdom, fresh perspectives and helps open peoples minds to the importance of respecting individuality.
Inhouse Qualitative Training
SEPTEMBER 10, 2019
PROJECTS ARE MOVING INTO QUALITATIVE PHASES AND SO IT WAS TIME TO BRING IN THE PROFESSIONALS FOR SOME TRAINING!
Friendship Bench held an inhouse training on Qualitative Research, facilitated by Dr Webster Mavhu a qualitative specialist. The training was to introduce the OptFB, FBPlus and YouFB project teams to the concept of qualitative research as they prepare for the qualitative components of their studies. MUCH WAS LEARNT.
ICOPE DEP meeting
MAY 15-17, 2019
Friendship Bench hosted the project development meeting for ICOPE-DEP (Integrated Care for Older People),
addressing low mood and other unmet health needs of older adults in Ethiopia, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
Delegates from various institutions and from across the globe met at the Friendship Bench house to discuss collaboration on the ICOPE-DEP project.
Evangelische Frauenhilfe Church from Westfalen Germany.
MAY 7, 2019
25 women from the Evangelische Frauenhilfe church in Westfalen Germany emailed us earlier in the year, they were going to be on a world prayer tour and wanted meet some Friendship Bench beneficiaries while they were in Harare.
We organised for 9 Friendship Bench clients to come and share their experience of mental health recovery, the tools and skills they leart and how they maintain their mental wellness by participating in Circle Kubatana Tose groups. It was an afternoon of women seeing women. There were variations in culture, language, race, religion, mental health and age but shared care, compassion and much laughter. Beneficiaries were also able to sell their crocheted bags and amaze the visitors that VHS tapes were now being used as crochet ribbon.
GACD, Optimise FB on a field trip to Gweru for qualitative data collection.
So much energy in Gweru even with the cold! These women are standing strong in their community, there is no alternative help for people with mental health problems so they take their work and referral system very seriously. Most Grnadmothers still carrying and using their ZEEbags from the training!
Best surprise was meeting a Friendship Bench Grandfather who works as a Bench mobiliser.
We look forward to seeing them again for the qualitative phase.
Training for new Youth Bench Buddies and the public!
APRIL 15-19, 2019
The Friendship Bench mission is to provide a sustainable community based mental health intervention that is evidence based, accessible and scalable. In pushing for scalability we have been hosting and facilitating public trainings in the Friendship Bench Approach to problem solving therapy for anyone above the age of 18 who wishes to apply for the 5-10 days of training. We have had amazing response from the public and continue to get messages requesting more trainings. Our first training was held for the public and new Youth Friendship Bench Buddies.
Friendship Bench ZW. Photography Exhibition in Germany.
JULY 7, 2019
The Friendship Bench held a photo exhibition to mark the launch of the Friendship Bench Trust in Germany!
Photos and canvases we're provided by Photographer, Rainer Kwiotek, which were shot on his visit to Zimbabwe in 2018.
Rainer together with the Zeitenspiegel journalist Isabel Stettin published a multiple page feature on the Friendship Bench, it was beautiful!
Check it out...
Garden Update, just before winter!
The garden is flourishing! We have minor anxiety about the water situation and the winter cold coming so thought now was the time for a quick update.
In the beds currently are lettuce, spinach, eggplant, onions, cabbage, beetroot, covo, tsunga and a mass of herbs.
Peter the grounds man has been to Foundations for Farming on a course and hopefully we will get a compost pile going soon.
the future of mental health care.
Students on attachment
The Friendship Bench, after it's success has embarked on the Youth Friendship Bench (YouFB) study.
One in six people are aged 10–19 years.
Mental health conditions account for 16% of the global burden of disease and injury in people aged 10–19 years.
Half of all mental health conditions start by 14 years of age but most cases are undetected and untreated.
Clinic check - ins, always good connecting with the Grandmothers & clinic supervisors.
Part of our new year objectives is to do more check in's as a team with the Lay Health Workers.
There is an abundance of knowledge and wisdom in these grandmothers, it's an honour to sit and talk to them. It's an awakening to the reality of life, yet when we talk and they share their community struggles they also naturally share hope, solutions and encouragement.
KUVHURA PFUGWA- Truly "opening the mind!"
FB House development
We have a base!!!
Permanently in a stage of growth!
Would you believe Friendship Bench has never had any base, headquarters, office space?
We have worked from coffee shops, homes, cars, psychiatrists and psychologist offices or out at the clinics and Harare Hospital. BUT, now we have a base! A place to call home, somewhere to host workshops, trainings, counselling sessions and so much more.
Follow our social media platforms to see more and keep up with our growth and developments.
World Economic Forum
“Everyone everywhere, should have someone to turn to,"
January 22-25 • 2019
World Economic Forum WRITE UP
United For Global Mental Health
London School of Hygiene and
Tropical Medicine WRITE UP
All photo credits to UnitedGMH
2018 PHOTO GALLERY
Zanzibar Training of
ZANZIBAR has 1 clinical psychologist serving a population of 1.3 million.
Dr Chibanda and Dr Verhey went to Zanzibar to train the Friendship Bench Model to psychiatric nurses and it was brilliant to have the Ministry involed and come and visit the training. Again the key was for cultural adaptation.
Zanzibar has one clinical psychologist for a population of 1.3 million people. Mental Health services are centralized at the psychiatric hospital (Kidongo Chekundu) in Stone Town with infrequent and overcrowded outreach clinics to surrounding villages. We hope through our training, services can become more accessible, affordable, appropriate and equitable. Visit HIPZ to read more about mental health care in Zanzibar. So grateful for collaborations with willing open minded game changers.
Training in Lilongwe, Malawi.
In collaboration with Dr. Brian Pence Wells and Prof. Bradley Gaynes from the University of North Carolina (UNC) Chapel Hill, the Friendship Bench was established in two clinics in Lilongwe in their effort to integrate mental health care into the HIV care. Funded by USAID in their SOAR depression treatment project, health surveillance assistants (HSAs) and some mental health professionals were trained to deliver the FB intervention. HSAs are the equivalent of the Zimbabwean lay health workers (LHWs), they are employed by the Malawian Ministry of Health and do clinic- and community-based work such as basic health outreach and health education across various disease conditions. For many of the trainees it was the first training in mental health.
Since the training that took place in October 2017, we had one refresher session in March 2018 and Friendship Bench services are offered in two clinics (area 18 and 25) in Lilongwe. The FB trainers keep in contact with the Malawian team and we are excited to be told that FB is implemented and received well by clinic visitors.
World Mental Health
World Mental Health Day)2018 theme was "young people and mental health
in a changing world"
10th October 2018
This years World Mental Health Day was a big event and the first Global Ministerial Mental Health Summit was over the 9th and 10th of October aswell. There was a great emphasis put on the youth and we followed the hash tag #TheWorldNeeds. Not to mention they built a Friendship Bench, the original design, in London for the Summit.
If you missed it on social media here are some Youth Friendship Bench Student Attachees' who got involved.
There should be gatherings! no divides, it doesn't matter who you are common mental disorders can affect anyone, so in that way we are leveled, whether a client, researcher, donor, doctor, we are the same.
Beneficiaries of the Friendship Bench
at Highfield Clinic together with the grandmothers & visiting research team.
It is so important for us to go into the field and visit the grandmothers and show our appreciation for their hard work.
It was great seeing the ZEEbag creativity and the positive feedback of the peer support groups.
Welcome to the
As we continue to grow as the Friendship Bench we head into our research and establishment of the Youth Friendship Bench - YouFB. After having trained trainers it was time to take on student attachee's. All students sent in a CV and motivational letter through their universities, all are in 2nd year and have to do a placement for 10 months.
We now have 24 students who have been through the problem solving therapy model, been introduced to the grandmothers and spent a day with them on the Bench, and are helping in research collection and data gathering. It's so important to work with minds who can identify with the youth and who they youth we hope will be more readily mobilised by. There is a lot of growth and adaptation happening and we are excited for our piloting.
The future minds sit in our present hands.
Training of Trainers.
SPREADING OUR INTERVENTION ARMS AND BENCH LEGS TO CONTINUE TO BRIDGE THE TREATMENT GAP IN ZIMBABWE
Ongoing Friendship Bench training delivered by Professor Dixon Chibanda and Clinical Psychologist Ruth Verhey . This five day training of trainers was attended by health workers from Masvingo and Zaka, for scaling up a rural Friendship Bench intervention as well as Harare Central Hospital interns who will train youth lay health councellors on the YouFB- youth Friendship Bench to focus on adolescents who suffer from common mental disorders.
Held at the Research Support Center at the University of Zimbabwe College of Health Sciences (www.uzchsrsc.ac.zw/).
This was a closed invitation event.
Friendship Benches in New York City!
A south-north knowledge and experience transfer
Realizing the heavy burden of mental illness, the NYC department of health and mental hygiene has been seeking evidence-based approaches to bridge the treatment gap supported by mayor Bill de Blasio and first lady Chirlane McGray.
As part of the Mental Health Road Map for all: ThriveNYC, Friendship Benches were introduced upon suggestion of Dr Mary Bassett, the NYC Commissioner of Health. Under Dr Gary Belkin, the Executive Deputy Commissioner, Division of Mental Hygiene, the Director of Networks and Coalitions Takeesha White has been leading the...
Read about the
rest of our trip >>>
MASVINGO STAKEHOLDERS ENGAGING IN THE THEORY OF CHANGE CONCEPT
Masvingo stakeholders taking action steps towards mental health improvement.
2017 PHOTO GALLERY
Circle Kubatana Tose
"If you want to go far go together"
January 2016 CKT set up
Sarah and Lillian start hosting a weekly 'Circle Kubatana Tose' at Avondale clinic for those clients who have have finished their individual sessions on the bench. Circle Kubatana Tose is translated into English as 'together holding hands'.
The idea of CKT is to encourage like minds to get together and create a support network on the ground for a sustainable post therapy check in. During CKT the group sings, then each individual gets a talking piece and time to share on how their week has been. Most often the stress of people was financial, and so ZEEbags (the creation of bags, hats, mats and much more crocheted out of recycled plastic) was introduced to create a source of income as well as a form of behavioural activation to quieten the mind through times of unrest.
Circle Kubatana Tose
Glenview Poly Clinic
"SHARING IS CARING"
2016 Circle Kubatana Tose set up
Farai started hosting a weekly 'Circle Kubatana Tose' at Glenview Poly Clinic for those clients who have have finished their individual sessions on the bench. Circle Kubatana Tose is translated into English as 'together holding hands'.
All particiapants were given a crochet hook and reels of the ribbon from old abandoned VHS tapes!
Another ZEEbag woman hosted CKT at Mbare clinic and despite there not being enough crochet hooks to go around people still came and met and talked and shared about how their kufungisisa was.
We found that groups formed subgroups which were closer and those women who found each other helped each other.
The Friendship Bench team gathering for brain storming sessions and team building days!
2016 Team workshops and team building during facilitation training
The Friendship Bench team gets together regularly to do mini workshops, this one on social media, reaching people through various communication lines, and campaign ideas for the future of the Friendship Bench as we think about moving towards an adolescent demographic.
2016 graduation ceremonies
All training sites had a graduation ceremony. where Professor Simbarashe Rusakaniko gave a speech of congratulations and future well wishes to the LHW who attended and participated in the intervention training.
Every graduate received a certificate and then networked over lunch.
Joy was expressed through singing and dancing, the lay health workers may be described as Grandmothers but they aren't scared of exercise in the form of dance.
Lay Health Workers with Aquilla at Wilkins Hospital training!
2015 LHW training sessions
Wilkins Hospital was the primary training site for Lay Health Workers, it was a brilliant venue.
The women that gathered here for training were highly motivated and eager to learn and grow. The discussions about the communities they were coming from created common bonds as there were mutual nods of agreements that all the district clinics were facing similar issues around mental health crisis's and the lay health workers could see a solution in the problem solving skills they were learning.
These women were so full of life, the resilience in them inspirational.
Lay Health Workers being walked and talked through the Friendship Bench training manual!
2015 LHW training sessions
Lay Health Workers gathered at 3 sites for daily training in problem solving therapy.
Friendship Bench facilitators delivered the material with the use of our manual and the ladies participated in role plays, group discussion, check in and check outs, as well as lots of talk around the tea and lunch table.