Dr. Ruth Verhey, Co-Director of The Friendship Bench: Bringing mental health to communities

Rotary eClub of Silicon Valley

13 AUGUST 2019

Alan J Fisher.jpg

The Journey of the Friendship Bench - A move from research to implementation by Dixon Chibanda.

Held at the Alan J Flisher Memorial Centre for Public Health, Cape Town



Zimbabwe: Grandmothers as psychologists

Many people in Zimbabwe suffer from depression. One thing is clear: there are too few psychiatrists or psychotherapists. The Friendship Bank project is now helping grandmothers.

15 OCTOBER 2019


Leadership in Research: 3 lessons by Dr Dixon Chibanda

Dr Dixon Chibanda, Founder of the Friendship Bench delivered the opening address at the AfOx FORA Conference.

10 JUNE 2019


Dixon Chibanda: Zimbabwe Training Grandmothers to Treat Depression at Davos World Economic Forum

Dixon Chibanda – one of 12 psychiatrists in Zimbabwe with a population of more than 16 million and founder of the Friendship Bench programme – he trained elderly Zimbabwean women to deliver evidence-based talk therapy on benches under trees to bring care and hope to those in need.


25 JANUARY 2019

VIDEOS 2017-2018

TED Talks women

Why I train grandmothers to treat depression

Published on Mar 7, 2018


Dixon Chibanda is one of 12 psychiatrists in Zimbabwe -- for a population of more than 16 million. Realizing that his country would never be able to scale traditional methods of treating those with mental health issues, Chibanda helped to develop a beautiful solution powered by a limitless resource: grandmothers. In this extraordinary, inspirational talk, learn more about the friendship bench program, which trains grandmothers in evidence-based talk therapy and brings care, and hope, to those in need.

Al Jazeera

How grandmothers help fight depression in Zimbabwe


Published on Mar 14, 2017


Zimbabwe's public health system, like other sectors, has been hit by a financial crisis. With a population of around 16 million, doctors say there are only 12 public health psychiatrists in the whole country. Now, a group of grandmothers is using what they call ‘friendship benches’ to help thousands of people suffering from mental health problems in the country.


Al Jazeera's Haru Mutasa reports from Harare.

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