Dixon Chibanda, the founder of The Friendship Bench, and one of the few psychiatrists in Zimbabwe, delivered a talk on depression treatment, which highlights the importance of offering a stable support system to those who are struggling with mental health issues. With only a total of 12 listed psychiatrists in Zimbabwe, a nation with over 16 millions people, getting this support from trained professionals is incredibly difficult, if not impossible.
With The Friendship Bench program, Chibanda aims to give those in need a place to talk, learn, build friendships, and find inspiration. More specifically, the program gives grandmothers in the area who are looking to build connections and share their wisdom the chance to offer their advice to those seeking it. As Chibanda demonstrates through the many examples he brings up, he shows the value of trained talk therapy in helping those struggling with depression. By speaking to this program, Chibanda highlights the need to make resources, even those as simple as The Friendship Bench, accessible to those who might not have access to mental health care.