People In Zimbabwe Are Using Friendship Benches To Improve Their Mental Health — And It's Working

After six visits to a bench, a person is three times less likely to experience symptoms of depression.



An estimated 57.7 million Americans over the age of 18 live with mental health issues, but people all over the world are affected. In Zimbabwe, for example, there is a population of about 15 million people, but only around 10 psychiatrists. To tackle mental health head on, some Zimbabweans are taking a rather unique approach — they are using friendship benches. 

According to the video above, "the Friendship Bench Project provides visitors with health care workers trained in problem-solving therapy." A health care worker will "listen, help identify problems and even give advice" to anyone who chooses to go to the bench. More than 27,000 people have taken advantage of the friendship benches, which are located outside of health clinics throughout the country. 

And the overall mission of the Friendship Bench Project has been successful. One study has shown that after six visits to a bench, a person is three times less likely to experience symptoms of depression. 

Pretty amazing stuff! 

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