Updated Sep 07, 2018

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Social, Emotional and Economic empowerment through Knowledge of Group Support Psychotherapy content (SEEK-GSP)

Part of Makerere University

Group support psychotherapy is a culturally sensitive and cost-effective first line intervention for depression and other common mental health problems among vulnerable populations in rural areas and can be delivered by lay health workers

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Etheldreda Nakimuli-mpungu

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This innovation has been successfully implemented in three districts (Gulu, Kitgum and Pader) in northern Uganda. Findings on the innovation's large scale effectiveness have been submitted for publication in peer-reviewed scientific journals

Focus Areas:

Mental Health, HIV and AIDS, Economic Empowerment and 2 MoreSEE ALL

Mental Health, HIV and AIDS, Economic Empowerment, Gender-based Violence and Youth Engagement and ContributionSEE LESS

Implemented In:



Country Implemented In
Verified Funding


Group support psychotherapy addresses the problem of depression. Worldwide, 350 million people are living with depression, 7 out of 10 of those people are living in poverty. And out of those 7, 5 of them do not have access to treatment.



Finding effective treatment for depressionin rural areas is anything but easy.But lay health workers do visit isolated communities to care for people who live with HIV. So Etheldreda is training those health workers to recognise and respond to depression too – by delivering group psychotherapy.

Target Beneficiaries

By working within existing health systems, Etheldreda is bringing depression therapies to areas that would otherwise have been unreachable. She trains lay health workers to identify the symptoms of depression and to run group support psychotherapy sessions for affected persons . The innovation empowers participants emotionally, socially, and economically. This innovation is helping people who live with depression to access treatment that otherwise wouldn’t have been available.

Mission and Vision

Accessing effective mental health treatment is a huge problem in many rural communities.
Our Mission and vision is to use group support psychotherapy to save lives and also make those affected by depression thrive socially, emotionally and economically across communities in Africa

Innovation Description

Our innovation increases emotional support, positive coping skills, social connections and networks which have been shown to reduce depression by bolstering self-esteem, confidence, and self-efficacy. our evaluations have shown that the sustained reduction in depression (Nakimuli-Mpungu et al. 2017) is complimented by improved adherence to ART medications, improved functioning, reduction in alcohol intake, reduced enacted stigma and immediate initiation of income generating activities. Participation in income generating activities which, in turn, leads to acquisition of assets and savings. This pursuit of livelihoods reduces stigma, restores the dignity and independence of affected individuals thereby leading to sustained reduction in depression and increase in functionality.

Competitive Advantage

Existing solutions for depression are being rolled out among women because they are neither attractive to men nor effective in men.
Group support psychotherapy attracts both males and females and therefore deserves to be rolled out across the African continent

Our innovation is not only effective against depression but also other common mental health problems such as post-traumatic stress symptoms , stigma, and hazardous consumption of alcohol.

Our innovation has been evaluated using rigorous scientific methods and participants have been followed up for one year allowing us to evaluate the sustainability of innovation effects.

Planned Goals and Milestones

Currently we are disseminating results from the large scale evaluation and looking to partners to scale up the innovation to more districts in Uganda and to pilot the innovation in other African communities.
Funding Goal2,000,000
New Implemented CountriesTanzania, South Africa
New Featureadapt group support psychotherapy for youth 10-18 years, pregnant and post-natal mothers, refugee populations


Feb 2016
Feb 2016
Recognition ReceivedPENDING
Date Unknown
New Country Implemented In

Supporting Materials