Professor Dixon Chibanda
AMARI Director, Friendship Bench, Zimbabwe
Prof Dixon Chibanda is a professor in psychiatry and the director of the African Mental Health Initiative (AMARI). He’s based in Zimbabwe, where he works on the Friendship Bench program, a cognitive-behavioral therapy-based approach to kufungisisa, the local term for depression, literally translated into “thinking too much.” At the Friendship Bench, patients receive individual problem-solving therapy from a specifically trained lay health worker which has been successfully scaled up in Zimbabwe and introduced to other countries. He is a principal investigator on several research programs and sits on the editorial board of the Lancet Psychiatry International Journal. Chibanda’s research interest focuses on the development of interventions delivered by non-professionals aimed at narrowing the treatment gap for mental, neurological and substance use disorders. He is passionate about connecting with ordinary people in ways that improve their lives using simple but effective programs that can be carried out by non-specialists or professionals. He likes to think outside the box as he explores ways of helping people with conditions such as depression, PTSD and ADHD. He is a black belt martial arts instructor and is passionate about using alternative interventions such as tai-chi and karate to enhance resilience in young people.
Prof Chibanda is an Independent Advisor in the EMDIYA (Ethics for Mental health Digital Innovations for Youth in Africa) project.