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The 'community grandmothers' helping the anxious in Zimbabwe

A scheme in Zimbabwe which trains 'community grandmothers' is part of the support for people suffering from depression and anxiety. Once trained in cognitive behavioural therapy and 'problem solving therapy', the grandmothers are given a park bench in their locality, and doctors, police and school teachers can then refer people to them. Seventy thousand have so far sat on their benches.

A study has suggested this type of problem solving therapy can be effective in tackling cases of long term anxiety and helps in places where trained psychiatrists are in short supply. Dr Dixon Chibanda, a psychiatrist from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, started the scheme.

(Photo: Three of the scheme's 'community grandmothers'. Credit: Friendship Bench)

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3 minutes