Findings from a mixed methods analysis of our Friendship Bench intervention in Shurugwi District have been accepted for publication in Global Mental Health. The paper explains how problem-solving therapy and peer-support delivered by village health workers is feasible and acceptable, leading to quantitative and qualitative improvements in mental health among rural Zimbabwean women. The paper concludes that scale-up of the Friendship Bench in rural areas would help close the treatment gap for common mental disorders. The paper is available here.
A second paper from our research on the Friendship Bench intervention, published in Health & Place, is now available to access online. This paper draws exclusively on the qualitative findings from our study, and draws out the role that gender plays in continuing to frame women’s experiences of mental ill health. We also consider how the intervention itself might have acted to reinforce gender norms through its focus on livelihood strategies associated with reproducing women’s domestic responsibilities. The paper concludes by reflecting on a set of questions with a different temporality. Specifically, we consider whether the slow violence of settler colonialism remains an under researched dimension of global public health interventions.
I’m in the process of analysing field research from our ‘Building Better Paternerships’ project. We conducted 30 interviews with households in Shurugwi District, as well as a similar amount with the Zimbabwean diaspora in the UK. One of the themes that is emerging from the work in Zimbabwe is the importance of the sharing economy to managing household food security in times of crisis. For some of the folk we interviewed, this included maintaining practices such as humwe (a Shona term for collective working parties, which often involve a social event supplemented with beer and food by the host). More to follow.