Health Care

Solving the Global Mental Health Crisis

August 25, 2023  • Aspen Global Leadership Network

“To reach people, you actually have to create a space for them to tell stories.”

– Dixon Chibanda, Founder & CEO, Friendship Bench

In a time when the massive population of Zimbabwe had only 19 psychiatrists to serve a population of over 15 million people, Dixon Chibanda, McNulty Prize winner and Aspen New Voices Fellow, established “Friendship Bench” and revolutionized mental healthcare delivery by introducing an innovative method of therapy. He leveraged community grandmothers as beacons of hope and wisdom to deliver relatable and proven care to individuals experiencing depression or anxiety. These trained grandmothers use culturally appropriate evaluations and multi-session talk therapy to successfully reduce patients’ symptoms, proving that basic mental healthcare can be a community health service. Listen to what catalyzed the formation of Friendship Bench and involving grandmothers as healers.