When the bag tears, the shoulders get a rest.

“When we discover we are more than the problems we have been through we are capable of great things.”

Mugumba Mukoki

In the year 2014 I became a victim of Substance Induced Psychosis (2014-2017) and was admitted into Hospital as a  result of failure to repress my sorrows towards staying away from my family, I was living in fear every day and I had lost hope in living for another day.

By the end of 2017 after having spent one week in hospital, I met Professor Dixon Chibanda and Hopewell Chin’ono as they were shooting a documentary on mental health issues in Zimbabwe. My mother volunteered for this documentary on my behalf and that was the turning point for me. Meeting Prof. Chibanda opened a window of opportunities for me, the kind that I had never thought would be possible. 

Upon recovering from the shackles of my mental health condition, I was introduced to the Youth Friendship Bench and this is where I found my safe space, I found belonging and connection with people who understood. It has given me purpose, I realised I needed to use what I had gone through to try and prevent others getting to the point of hospital admittance because of psychotic episodes. The community engagements that I have taken part in so far has given me some insight into how as people we are affected by circumstances beyond our control and the impact that these issues have on our state of mind. Getting to share my story and hearing the stories of other youths during  our Circle Kubatana Tose peer support groups has given me great joy. Having learnt that the stories we share could help change someone’s life for the better, I will continue to share mine for as long as I can.

All in all, being part of the Youth friendship bench has been a life changing experience. I’ve learnt a lot about the importance of mental health awareness and how dialogue can go a long way in addressing the problems we face as youth in Zimbabwe.

Find out more about the #StateOfMind documentary spoken of above. To share your story takes courage, Mugumba Mukoki is courage in body, mind and soul.

Author: Friendship Bench Zimbabwe

The Friendship Bench provides sustainable community based psychological interventions that are evidence based, accessible and scalable. OUR MISSION: Creating Safe Spaces and a Sense of Belonging in Communities to Enhance Quality of Life ​OUR VISION: A Friendship Bench Within Walking Distance For All OUR VALUES: Empathy & Connection; Anchored in Research

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