The intervention also improved health outcomes among highly vulnerable individuals who are HIV positive, experienced domestic violence or physical illness.
“In developing countries, nearly 90 per cent of people with mental disorders are unable to access any treatment,” said Peter A. Singer, Chief Executive Officer of Grand Challenges Canada an organisation working for global health.
“We need innovations like the Friendship Bench to flip the gap and go from 10 per cent of people receiving treatment, to 90 per cent of people receiving treatment,” Singer added.
For the study, published in JAMA, the team involved 573 participants from Zimbabwe, where Friendship Bench is working on a project to make mental health care accessible to the entire African nation.
The practitioners, who are lay health workers known as community “Grandmothers” provided the participants the problem solving therapy with three components “opening up the mind, uplifting the individual, and further strengthening”.
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