Clio Goldbrenner
x Strongminds

Clio Goldbrenner
x Strongminds





What is your name?

How old are you?

Before you joined StrongMinds therapy, you were depressed. What did that feel like to you?
Before I joined StrongMinds, I had depression because my children died. When my children died, I used to have a lot of thoughts about their death and I never used to be around people. I just wanted to sit all alone. I even used to feel bad – my hands used to feel numb, my body would be tired, I never used to sleep.

What is life like now?
After the therapy, I now feel better. My hand is okay – I am able to wash, I am able to cook, I am able to do a lot of things that I never used to do. My body feels okay, I feel normal. And even now I am able to teach other women, I am now a teacher for StrongMinds. I am a peer facilitator.

Why did you decide to keep meeting as a group after therapy ended?
We learned in therapy that relapse is there, and because relapse is there, we realized that if we do not continue meeting, if our friend goes into a relapse then they will not find anyone to support them. So we have continued to support each other in case of relapse in the future.

Has anybody relapsed?
She hasn’t seen anyone go into deep depression because we have continued to share, to support each other. We even courage each other through the challenges that we face on a day to day basis.

And when they meet, what do they talk about when they are together?
When we meet, the first thing that we do is we try to find out how each one of us is doing and any challenges that they experienced in the week. Then, if a friend has a very big challenge, sometimes we are able to contribute small money just to give out friend to support her in that problem that she is going through.

How long has this group been meeting?
Almost two years.

What is your favorite thing to do with this group?
The best part is that I like to sing – we are free after singing. After singing, it is like everyone is free to talk about the burden that we are currently to share.

Do you feel that you share their burdens?
Yes, I feel that we share. In our group, one of the things that we have talked about is keeping confidential so that people are able to share and open up.

I am trying to understand the power of this group and the power of them continuing to get together. Is there anything else you think I should know to understand that?
One thing that she has seen in the group is that a lot of them are lucky in terms of finances, and we really want to boost our businesses. One thing we would really love is for us to be boosted in our businesses so that everyone in the group is doing something and our joy can be more abundant.

So even though they are meeting for mental health, this group is linking to their livelihoods?
Yes, livelihood is a major challenge. We meet to support each others mental health but a lot of our friends aren’t doing anything. I would really love that each one had something small that they are doing so that even as we meet we are really there to support each other. We are limited in the ways we can support each other financially.

It is clear that you see benefit in this group. Do you think this group benefits the community also? And if so, how?
Yes, the community is actually benefitting a lot because we’ve seen that even the people when they have challenges in their homes concerning different issues, they run to people from StrongMinds. They say “ah, they are StrongMinds people who can come in to support us and even help us resolve this challenge”, so people are coming to us. We have become like facilitators in the community – and sometimes judges – we are called to preside over cases that are happening.


What is your name?

How old are you?

Before you started StrongMinds therapy, what did it feel like when you were depressed?
My depression started when I lost my parents. After I lost my parents, I used to have a headache, I used to feel weak because I used to think a lot. Every time I thought a lot about my parents who passed on, that is what made me have a headache and made me feel weak.

What is life like now?
After I met StrongMinds and joined the therapy, they thought me how to handle the symptoms and what to do when I feel that way. Up to now, I now feel far much better than I was feeling before. All those symptoms, I do not experience them anymore.

Why did you decide to keep meeting with the group after therapy ended?
I have continued because this group is very supportive to me, they are there to support me and teach me and encourage me. I feel that if I drop from the group, then those symptoms will come back. I will be alone, I will start thinking again and I will experience depression again. But with the group on my side, I feel much better.

What do you talk about with the group?
In the group, usually we share our challenges. We share challenges we are experiencing with our children in the homes, our husbands. Especially how to handle our children. If our children are maybe going out of line or doing something that will make us start feeling depressed, our friends are able to give us ways of how to handle that situation. With their support, we are able to help our children and we have seen changes in the way our children behave.

Can you talk a little about what are the changes they’ve seen in their children, now that they are no longer depressed?
With my children, now after learning after StrongMinds, I am able to know how to handle them. Sometimes I will get very upset when they do something wrong, but this time I am able to sit them nicely, talk to them nicely, and give them the right direction of which to go.

Why do you keep coming back to the groups?
We have seen that there is a lot of improvement in the lives of our friends and even as a group. There is no one thinking of going to throw themselves in the dam anymore when they are experiencing challenges in their lives, like before.

Have you experienced any of your depression symptoms coming back, since finishing therapy?
After learning, no I haven’t experienced any of those symptoms.

Do you think one of the reasons is because you keep coming to meet with this group of women?
Yes, one of the reasons – the major reason – why I don’t have those symptoms is because I continue to meet with the group. One of the things that I love the most, is the encouragement and the supporting. And my friends that are not doing so well in the group, sometimes we pray with them an encourage them.


What is your name?

How old are you?
Age: 41

When did you do StrongMinds therapy?
I did therapy in 2019.

What did it feel like when you were depressed?
Before therapy, I was depressed. I could not manage to do things like eat, I had no appetite. I slept all the time and I was not able to do my tailoring business.

What is life like now?
Before, I could not do anything. Now, I can do a lot of things. I am able to run my tailoring business. I am able to go to church, interact with friends, and I feel much more strength within myself.

Do you think that not being depressed has helped your business?
Now I am much more active now and interact with customers because I am no longer sleeping for long hours. I am able to do new styles and new things in my tailoring. Yes, not being depressed has really helped me and my business. I am also much more active now at church and in the way I take care of my children.

Has your income increased since you recovered from depression?
There is a lot of change. When I was depressed, I wasn’t able to do a lot of things. I wasn’t able to save any money or see anything tangible for me after work. I am more focused. Now, I am much more active. I am also very grateful.


Tell me about your relationship with each other.
Joyce’s first born son married Mary’s first born daughter. That is where our friendship started from, and we are also close neighbors.

How did they become best friends? Just from being grandparents together?
We get along in a lot of ways. With our problems, and our challenges, we get along and we also think a lot.

You were both depressed at the same time?
Both of us were depressed at the same time. Joyce’s challenge was that her husband had a stroke in 2009, and he died in 2020. We were both depressed at the same time.

How is your friendship different now that you are no longer depressed?
Our friendship is stronger now after we are both treated for depression. We had similar challenge. Mary’s challenge was that her husband died, while Joyce had a husband who had stroke. So that was very challenging at the time. But now they are stronger and able to encourage each other and life Is just going on very well.

Were you in the same StrongMinds therapy group together?
Yes, same group with facilitator Michael Manda.

Do you use the skills that they used in group to support each other with coping strategies? Do they see each other’s triggers for depression and use the skills they learned to support each other?
We learned a lot, and some of the skills we got from the therapy sessions we are able to use in our daily lives to support each other. An example, is that when Mary has an argument with a child. We live near each other, so Joyce is able to intervene and calm Mary, and also calm Mary’s child, so there is a lot of peace. Even right now, Mary is nursing her daughter, because of the coping strategies and the support traits and system that we learned from group, Joyce is also there to help and take Mary’s daughter to the hospital. Sometimes, Joyce sleeps in Mary’s house to help Mary with her sick daughter. What we learned from the group is really helping us.

Did you consult with each other when they decided to be Peer Facilitators?
No, we did not consult with each other. We made the decisions on our own so we joined without consulting each other.

Do you support each other in being Peer Facilitators? Do you co-facilitate groups together? Do you talk to each other about your groups?
We help each other in the way we carry out our activities. An example of a recent activity that we had, Mary had a session with her clients. Because her house is full, they used Joyce’s house to conduct the session. So that is how we support each other.

What do you love about one another? What is one thing you love about each other as a friend?
Mary: What I love about Joyce, is that she helps me in a lot of ways. She is there to encourage and support me. When I have personal challenges, Joyce is always available for me. I can’t go anywhere else to tell another person when I am going through something, I will always go to tell Joyce.

Joyce: Despite Mary being younger than me, I like Mary because the times she has been weak, Mary has been there for me. I remember how I used to differ with my husband. I always found comfort with Mary. Mary has been there in the times I needed her the most.  

CHRISTINA, Refugee case study

Christina lives in a refugee settlement in northern Uganda. At 28-years old, she has already endured a lifetime of instability. When her family fled Sudan, Christina’s father stayed behind. Her mother still struggles daily to make ends meet. Now, as an adult, Christina is living with HIV, while raising her children without her husband’s support.

Christina’s depression began when she found herself pregnant with her second child. Her marriage had grown abusive, and family life was riddled with conflict. Her husband’s infidelity and abuse worsened once she became pregnant. She says of her husband, “He would bring other women home and chase me away from the plot.” Pregnant and traumatized, she developed headaches and could not keep up with her prenatal care and antiretroviral treatments. When her husband refused to accept responsibility for her newborn child, she had no one to turn to. She considered ending her life.

Christina discovered StrongMinds when she heard a bell ringing one day, signaling the start of a therapy group in her community. She inquired about the group, and our mental health facilitator explained that it was for treating an illness called depression. Christina had not heard of depression, but the symptoms sounded all too familiar. Soon, Christina was screened and enrolled in a StrongMinds therapy group.

In the safety of her therapy group, Christina opened up about her troubles at home. With the help of our Mental Health Facilitator, the group discussed the triggers of depression, such as grief and life changes. Together, members came up with strategies to overcome their troubles. In doing so, Christina discovered that sharing her problems with others could lighten her burden.

Now, Christina says, “I no longer worry and think so much. My headaches are gone. I am more loving with my children.” She adds, “When things get difficult, I know I can talk about it with others. StrongMinds should keep up the good work.”

*Name has been changed