Today the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited the first Global Ministerial Mental Health Summit, and while there they sat on a recreation of the very first Friendship Bench from Zimbabwe – emphasizing how everyone everywhere should have someone to turn to. United for Global Mental Health is highlighting The Friendship Bench programme from Zimbabwe as the kind of simple intervention that could improve mental health across the world.
Our founder and CEO, Elisha London, shared with the Duke and Duchess about how one generation is helping another in The Friendship Bench programme which trains grandmothers to support people who are depressed, anxious or have another mental health condition. On a Friendship Bench, placed in a quiet place near a health centre, they talk through what may be causing or worsening someone’s mental health problems and find solutions.
“The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have done a huge amount to get people talking about mental health in the UK and developing practical tools for support,” United for Global Mental Health CEO, Elisha London, said. “It was great to have the opportunity to introduce them to the work of the Friendship Bench and United for Global Mental Health during the ministerial summit.”
The Friendship Bench began in Zimbabwe and now the programme is being set up in other countries. Today 400 grandmothers are helping 35,000 people in more than 70 locations in Zimbabwe.