With funding from Zoom Cares, Friendship Bench increased their psychosocial support, training for mental health supporters, and access to technology for people with mental health disorders. Learn more about Friendship Bench and its partnership with Zoom Cares below.
About Friendship Bench
Friendship Bench aims to get people out of depression by creating safe spaces in the community where people can find a sense of belonging for improved quality of life and envisions a Friendship Bench within walking distance for all.
Friendship Bench provides sustainable community-based psychological interventions that are evidence-informed, accessible and scalable. The organization actively trains community health workers (known locally as Ambuya Utano/Community Grandmothers) in a task-sharing approach to bridge the mental health treatment gap so that people struggling with mild to moderate common mental health conditions get free quality mental health care.
“Friendship Bench is a program that brings people together to speak about well-being. We all need supportive, compassionate and understanding people around us who make an effort to listen.”Dr. Ruth Verhey, International Lead & Psychotherapist, Friendship Bench
Friendship Bench & Zoom Cares
With grant funding from Zoom Cares, Friendship Bench was able to train new mental health supporters to deliver evidence-informed problem solving therapy and provide psychosocial support for people who need someone to listen to them. The support from Zoom Cares enabled Friendship Bench to better address mental health needs in Zimbabwe and in Ontario, Canada.
How Friendship Bench Delivers Impact
Friendship Bench’s program has three main objectives & impact numbers:
- Provided one-on-one community based problem-solving therapy to over 157,000 people
- Created 80+ peer support and income generating group circles, known as Circle Kubatana Tose, translate into ‘Holding Hands Together’
- Trained over 1,700 community health workers to provide evidence-informed mental health care
Friendship Bench is currently branching out internationally and is working on adapting the program to different settings, different cultures, different languages to empower real people to support real people with real problems.
The organization believes that we human beings all over the world can all give non-judgmental and caring support to each other in order for us to feel safer in relationships and therefore more able to be our best selves who can contribute to the world being a better place.
“Friendship Bench is a program that brings people together to speak about well-being. We all need supportive, compassionate and understanding people around us who make an effort to listen.”
– Dr. Ruth Verhey, International Lead & Psychotherapist, Friendship Bench