In Zimbabwe, Grassroot Soccer (GRS) is working in partnership with local organization Pamumvuri, the World Health Organization (WHO), and the Zimbabwe Ministry of Health and Child Care to bring GRS’s flagship MindSKILLZ mental health promotion and prevention program to adolescents in Bulawayo and Harare, with a view towards nationwide scale up.

Employing a positive, strengths-based approach to mental health, MindSKILLZ uses soccer language, metaphors, and activities to engage young people and draw connections to mental health. MindSKILLZ was designed to improve the mental health of all young people: to help those who are currently struggling with their mental health, as well as preventing others from experiencing poor mental health in the future. In Zimbabwe, Pamumvuri and GRS will work to bring MindSKILLZ to 3,500 young people between the ages of 10-19.

As a key part of its technical assistance support, GRS recently trained 40 Pamumvuri SKILLZ Coaches on the MindSKILLZ curriculum in both Bulawayo and Harare. The six-day training used soccer-based activities, group discussions, role plays, and teach-backs to equip the Coaches with the knowledge, skills, and techniques to deliver the MindSKILLZ mental health content to young people and support them as trusted mentors. 

After the training, the newly certified MindSKILLZ Coaches in Bulawayo shared their thoughts on mental health, what they learned, and the impact they are looking forward to making in their community through MindSKILLZ.

A healthy mind is a healthy life. My mental well-being is not a character trait, it is a way of life. 

Usher Sibanda, 19

I have realized that taking care of your mental health is just as important as taking care of your physical health. Mental illness is not personal failure. It is just a condition that requires treatment.  

Onai Theresa Chikumo, 23

My mind is like a garden; I now have to tend to it with kindness, nourish it with self love, and prune away the weeds of negativity. I am now a game changer in my community when it comes to mental health.

Cecilia Nyoni, 23

I have learned that a healthy mind leads to a healthy body, and a balanced diet assists in having a healthy mind that is free from stress. 

Beauty Moto, 24

We all go through mental health challenges. It’s normal. But it is important to be resilient by identifying the coping strategies that work best for you.  

Tarchel Sithole, 24

Empower your mind with positivity, and unlock a stronger, more resilient you. Mental wellness is the foundation of a happy, healthy life! 

Patience Tembo, 32

Now I know how to cope with stress. I can take a walk, exercise, play some music, and even talk to a “star supporter” about my problem.  

Junior Moyo, 19

A healthy mind is a powerful tool. Nurture it with kindness. Feed it with knowledge. Use effective coping strategies to maintain a positive mindset. And if ever you reach a boiling point, take a breath, think of the consequences, and talk it out. 

Amanda Dube, 18

I learned that taking care of my mental health is part of self care. You don’t have to struggle in silence. You don’t have to live that way! Your mental health matters. 

Ryan Ncube, 22 

I now realize I have to be patient with everything, particularly with myself. My imperfections do not define me. I now use coping skills daily to become a better person. 

Blessing Ngwenya, 24