Impact partner profile


Ending the depression epidemic in Africa

Strong Minds
Est. since
Location of HQ
515 Valley Street, Suite 200 Maplewood, NJ 07040, United States of America
Partnership date with Thankyou
September 2020
Area of focus
Mental Health
Uganda and Zambia

StrongMinds exists to deliver life-changing mental healthcare to African women. Founded in 2013, the organisation has provided a simple, proven, and cost-effective group talk therapy to approximately 140,000 women and adolescents in Uganda and Zambia - positively transforming their psychological health, economic well being, and the lives of their children.

In Africa, 66 million women suffer from depression, it is the number one cause of disability for African women. The impact of depression is wide-ranging and severe. It includes greater food insecurity, substantial economic insecurity with decreased income, lower education and literacy levels, lost productivity and absenteeism from work, as well as poorer health outcomes for both the women and their children. Evidence shows that when you treat a depressed woman, it not only improves her life, but also those of her children, and her community.

StrongMinds implements an innovative and rigorously tested therapeutic model to treat depression in low-income African women. The model uses Group Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT-G) in a culturally adapted format delivered by local women. On average, over 80% of the women StrongMinds treats are depression-free at the conclusion of therapy, and remain depression-free six months after treatment ends. These results are sustained years into her future.

Exponential growth is needed to end the depression epidemic in Africa. Over the past nine years, StrongMinds has built a robust program that demonstrates the efficacy of their methods and their ability to expand geographically and minimise costs. They have established winning partnerships, with proven impact and significant return on investment. The organisation is now poised to scale their model through sustainable partnerships with governments and international non-governmental organisations, broadening the lasting social impact that is seen when women regain their mental health.

Yearly, StrongMinds serves 23,000 women, furthering their mission to improve the mental health of all women in Africa.

Target Dark

Core impact goals

Increased reach

StrongMinds aim to increase treatment provided to African women suffering from depression (as measured by the total number of patients treated per year).

Increase in depression-free patients

StrongMinds has a goal of increasing the percentage of treated patients who are depression-free after completing therapy. This is the percentage of patients showing a reduction in depressive symptoms to the level that they can no longer be diagnosed as depressed.

Decrease in depression scores

StrongMinds are aiming to see an average reduction in depression scores among treated patients as measured by the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) Depression Screening Tool.

Type of grant funding given

Milestone Dark

Impact milestones

FY2022 impact milestones Read more Show less

  1. Treat 65,000 low-income and/or vulnerable clients suffering from depression, utilizing StrongMinds teletherapy and in-person group therapy approaches. This includes 34,500 patients reached via scale partners, for example, other NGOs and governments to directly implement the StrongMinds approach, with technical guidance and support provided by the StrongMinds team.
  2. StrongMinds expects to see an average reduction in depression score from baseline to endline as measured by the PHQ-9 (after 6 months):
    - StrongMinds led groups: 12 points
    - Peer Facilitator (volunteer) led groups: 10 points
    - Partner-led groups: 8 points
  3. See a reduction of the cost-per-patient (CPP) value from $146 in 2021 to $105 in 2022.
  4. Raise $7.5M (as part of the $30M goal for 2022-2024) in philanthropic capital from existing and new funding streams, including private foundations, individual donors, and bilateral/multilateral grants.

FY2021 impact milestones

12 month (Oct 2020-Sep 2021) unrestricted funded grant: $250,000 AUD

Using phone-based teletherapy, StrongMinds will provide free group interpersonal therapy to 11,000 marginalised and low-income individuals in Uganda and Zambia who suffer from depression and anxiety.

StrongMinds treated 11,390 patients in Uganda and Zambia, exceeding their goal of 11,000 patients treated. The patients treated includes 7,765 individuals suffering from depression treated through teletherapy and 3,625 patients treated through an adapted version of peer therapy groups and in-person therapy.

Have 75% of clients who complete therapy (attending at least five out of eight sessions) report clinically significant improvements in their symptoms, as measured by a reduction of five or more points on the PHQ-9 scale.

85% of clients are depression-free, and 98% of clients report they would recommend StrongMinds’ teletherapy to a friend or family member.

Complete a mass, multimedia psycho-education campaign that reaches five million Ugandans and Zambians and consists of radio spots, video, and social media promotion, to help the public understand the symptoms and causes of depression and anxiety.

StrongMinds created a series of five videos on the triggers and symptoms of depression that have received over 100,000 views. StrongMinds has also built and launched a WhatsApp chatbot to provide information and virtual support for depression with over 5,000 users, aired more than 1,300 radio spots in nine different languages in Uganda and Zambia that reached 16 million listeners, and appeared on 11 radio and television talk shows.

Formalise at least four new partnerships with medium/large sized NGOs with long-term health impact.

Over the past year, StrongMinds has collaborated with seven NGO partners. They are also in several conversations with medium/large NGOs, who have reached out to StrongMinds for potential collaboration. These partnerships will create opportunities to grow their treatment model among service providers further, reaching more depressed women in need.

Milestone complete.
On track
Milestone on-track for completion within specified timeframe, outside of Thankyou’s grant period.
Partially achieved
Milestone <90% completed within grant period.
Mostly achieved
>90%+ milestone completion.
Milestone delayed, not completed within grant period.

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