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Zimbabwe’s ‘Mental Health Benches’ Exported To The World Cup
Health

Zimbabwe’s ‘Mental Health Benches’ Exported To The World Cup

Video by Farai Mugano. Pictures by Jekesai NjikizanaSitting next to a patient with depression on a garden bench in Zimbabwe's capital Harare, 70-year-old Shery Ziwakayi speaks gently, offering accessible therapy with a warm and reassuring smile."You have made the right decision to come to see mbuya", she tells her client, using the Shona word for "grandmother" and offering a handshake. A Zimbabwean doctor has come up with a novel way of providing desperately needed mental health therapy for his poorer compatriots by using lay health workers, colloquially referred to as "grandmothers". Psychiatry professor Dixon Chibanda's concept is simple: a wooden park bench where people experiencing common mental disorders sit and receive free therapy. Chibanda's Friendship Bench has proved popular ...