PLATINUM2023

StrongMinds

Treating Depression at Scale in Africa

aka StrongMinds   |   Maplewood, NJ   |  www.strongminds.org

Mission

To improve the mental health of women and adolescents in Africa.

Notes from the nonprofit

We aim to scale our programs to provide mental health services to as many people as possible, as quickly as possible.

Ruling year info

2013

Chief Executive Officer

Mr. Sean Mayberry

Main address

515 Valley Street Suite 200

Maplewood, NJ 07040 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

46-2090059

NTEE code info

Mental Health Treatment (F30)

Mental Health Association, Multipurpose (F80)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

The World Health Organization estimates that 280 million people globally are living with depressive disorders. For African women – who are affected at approximately 1.5 times the rate of men – depression is a leading cause of disability. Yet, due to the lack of investment in mental health services, approximately 85% of people in low-income countries receive no treatment. An African woman with depression, compared with her healthy peer, suffers greatly: She is less productive, has a lower income, and has poorer physical health. If she is a mother, the negative impact extends to her entire family. Research shows that children of depressed mothers are more likely to have poor health, struggle in or miss school, and suffer from depression themselves. StrongMinds is the only organization working to rapidly scale a solution to the depression epidemic in Africa.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Group Interpersonal Psychotherapy to Treat Depression

StrongMinds treats depression using group interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT-G), delivered by lay counselors. This manualized, time-bound talk therapy model emphasizes relationships as the root of – and source of recovery for – depression. IPT-G is well-studied in low- and middle-income countries and is recommended by the WHO as a first-line depression intervention in resource-poor settings.

Population(s) Served
People of African descent
Women and girls

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Percentage of people that are depression-free immediately after therapy

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults, Adolescents, Low-income people, Internally displaced people, Refugees and displaced people

Related Program

Group Interpersonal Psychotherapy to Treat Depression

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Depression-free scores from 2014 were inflated by a social desirability bias during data collection. Since 2015 external evaluators collect end-line depression scores to avoid bias.

Percentage of people that are depression-free six months after therapy

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults, Adolescents, Low-income people, Internally displaced people, Refugees and displaced people

Related Program

Group Interpersonal Psychotherapy to Treat Depression

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Participants are assessed for depression using the PHQ-9. Our 2019 data for this metric is carried over from 2018, as COVID prevented our 6-month follow-up assessments.

Number of people treated for depression with StrongMinds Talk Therapy per year

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults, Adolescents, Low-income people, Internally displaced people, Refugees and displaced people

Related Program

Group Interpersonal Psychotherapy to Treat Depression

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Total number of participants treated through StrongMinds Therapy Groups and Peer Therapy Groups Total treated includes StrongMinds launching new Teletherapy groups due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

StrongMinds' ultimate goal is to end the depression epidemic in Africa. Over the next three years, we will treat 300,000 depression sufferers, bringing our cumulative number of patients to more than 400,000 people.

StrongMinds treats depression using group interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT-G), delivered by lay counselors. This manualized, time-bound talk therapy model emphasizes relationships as the root of – and source of recovery for – depression. IPT-G is well-studied in low- and middle-income countries and is recommended by the WHO as a first-line depression intervention in resource-poor settings.

Our group therapy is available in person or by phone. In groups, members find a safe space to open up with peers about their worries and struggles. Over 8-10 sessions, counselors guide structured discussions to help participants identify the underlying triggers of their depression and examine how their current relationships and their depression are linked. Together, they strategize solutions to their problems, learn coping mechanisms, practice interpersonal skills, and identify support structures that they can continue to lean on after therapy has ended.

Members work together to strategize solutions for overcoming their challenges, forming strong social bonds in the process. Since depression is episodic and recurrent throughout most people’s lives, these newly acquired skills have both immediate and long-term preventive impacts for the individual.

PHASES OF THERAPY

The sessions are divided into three phases, each with distinct objectives:

Initial Phase: This phase focuses on building trust and rapport among group members so they feel comfortable opening up with one another.

Middle Phase: This phase ensures that all members are actively engaged in discussion and collective problem-solving. Participants learn to fully understand the symptoms and triggers of depression.

Termination Phase: By this stage, most participants have experienced a substantial reduction in the severity of their depression symptoms. As they prepare for the end of formal sessions, each will make a plan to identify and mitigate triggers in the future, so that they can prevent recurring depressive episodes.

SUSTAINABILITY AND SCALING

We achieve sustainability by identifying and training former clients and local health workers to facilitate StrongMinds therapy groups in their communities, spreading the seeds of good mental health widely. We also work with governments and NGOs to layer mental health services into existing livelihood, food security, healthcare, and education programs in order to scale our reach and enhance outcomes for program participants.

StrongMinds is operated by a dedicated team, led by CEO and Founder, Sean Mayberry, Uganda Country Director, Christina Ntulo, and Zambia Country Director, Frank Harle.

Sean Mayberry's experience includes more than a decade of work in Africa and Asia where he designed, planned, and successfully implemented a variety of community-based health and anti-poverty programs for USAID, DFID, The Global Fund, and other donors, all with strong monitoring and evaluation components. He was the Population Services International country director for both the Democratic Republic of Congo and India, during which he was responsible for implementing health programs with an accumulated budget of more than $50 million. He is also the former COO of VisionSpring and CEO of FXB International.

Christina Ntulo is a mental health and development worker with 23 years of professional experience in mental health, human rights, gender, economic empowerment, management, and organizational development. Christine also possesses skills in strategic and program planning, implementation, monitoring, research, evaluation and analysis, evidence-based advocacy, and organizational and national-level policy development and analysis. Prior to joining StrongMinds Uganda, she held consultant and director-level positions for several organizations including Network for Africa, BasicNeeds, and GOAL Uganda.

Frank Harle possesses nearly 15 years of international development experience and is keenly adept at operating country programs focused on improving the well-being of impoverished populations. He has strong experience working with INGO and MOH partners in South Africa, Tanzania, and Ethiopia. Before joining the StrongMinds team in 2019 as the Country Director for Zambia, he spent four years as a Country Director in South Africa and three years as Deputy Director in Tanzania for Restless Development. Frank holds a bachelor's in Arts in History from the University of Sheffield.

StrongMinds' Mental Health Advisory Panel also provides expert technical oversight with representatives from diverse backgrounds in psychiatry, psychology, academia, and global mental health. Additionally, StrongMinds receives technical guidance and support from Dr. Lena Verdelli and Dr. Myrna Weissman. Dr. Verdelli is an, Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology and Director, Global Mental Health at Columbia University. Dr. Weissman is a Professor of Epidemiology and Psychiatry at Columbia University and is one of the founders of Interpersonal Psychotherapy. Group Interpersonal Psychotherapy has been proven and validated by numerous randomized control trials including a 2002 study conducted in Uganda through Columbia and John Hopkins Universities.

Lastly, StrongMinds has developed a solid and diverse funding basis, despite fundraising challenges for mental healthcare in Africa. We have the support of a number of foundation partners, individuals, and multilateral grants that sustain our program and operations.

Since beginning fieldwork in 2014, StrongMinds has treated approximately 160,000 women and adolescents suffering from depression. Our current monitoring and evaluation show that 80% are depression-free at the completion of therapy and these results are sustained for six months. From 2022 to 2024, we aim to treat 300,000 depression sufferers in Africa.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    We don't have any major challenges to collecting feedback

Financials

StrongMinds
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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lock

Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

StrongMinds

Board of directors
as of 06/08/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mr. Dana Ward

Vermont Department of Health

Paul Watford

Music Institute of Chicago

Rehmah Kasule

Harvard Advanced Leadership Institute

Ann MacDougall

Dunollie Fund

James Rude

Graham-Pelton Consulting

Carol Squire

Good Cheer

Annika Sten Pärson

DanFei Holdings

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 11/4/2022

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Male

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

No data

Transgender Identity

No data

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 04/19/2021

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Policies and processes
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.