Mental Health Support Through the Friendship Bench

Have you found yourself or a loved one struggling through the past few years?

COVID created a lot of tough situations for everyone, and there’s certainly no shame in needing some extra help to get through.

We’ve often talked about the need for community and support here at Third Age Mojo, but when you need a little something more, where can you turn?

Meet the Friendship Bench

In 2006, Dixon Chibanda, a psychiatrist in Harare, Zimbabwe, founded the Friendship Bench initiative. Formed to help combat the severe shortage of mental health care in Zimbabwe, Chibanda and his team have trained over 400 grandmothers in evidence-based talk therapy. Delivered for free in over 70 communities in Zimbabwe through these benches, they have been able to reach thousands in need of help.

In helping to create safe spaces for his own community, Chibanda hit upon a need in many other communities.

His initial vision has expanded and while there are Friendship Benches throughout the world, he wanted to be able to provide resources no matter where you live.

Connect with Peer Counselors, Anywhere

Whether you’re struggling or just wanting to talk to someone while you’re going through a tough time, Friendship Bench can help. Their non-judgmental safe spaces can be accessed through encrypted WhatsApp sessions or you can join their online community to find friends.

Within their community, they offer self-directed support and resources that you can download and work through.

However you access their resources, Friendship Bench will work with you through Problem-Solving therapy. 

Problem solving therapy – sometimes referred to as ‘structured problem solving’ – is a brief, evidence-based, cognitive–behavioral intervention used to help people cope with stressful life experiences, increase resilience, and improve people’s functioning in various areas of their lives, be it personal, professional, social or self directed development.

It’s OK to not be OK, and thank goodness for free resources like Friendship Bench that can help!