The More We Are Together, The Happier We Are: Peer Music in Mental Health Treatment in Zimbabwe


  • Jeffrey Robert Angell
  • Ruth Verhey The Friendship Bench Project



Zimbabwe, Africa


Ruth Verhey is a clinical psychologist involved in developing and running the Friendship Bench, a comprehensive, group based mental healthcare initiative in Harare, Zimbabwe.  In 2013, she invited Jeffrey Angell, a music therapist from New York City, to facilitate one of weekly Zeebag support groups at Harare Hospital.  The Zeebag group is comprised of eight women who suffer from depression.  The essay provides Jeffrey's first person accounts of this experience, as well as describing the music, music process, and how these intergrate into the peer empowerment model of the Frienship Bench.

Author Biographies

Jeffrey Robert Angell

After graduating with a Masters of Arts in Music Therapy from New York University in 2012, Jeffrey Angell worked as a Licensed Creative Arts Therapist in an in-patient psychiatry unit at King’s County Hospital in Brooklyn, NY, where he led hip-hop, songwriting, drumming, sing-a-long, and improvisatory music therapy groups. He also supervised NYU music therapy masters students committed to psychiatric clinical internships. For two weeks in 2013, he lectured on music therapy to students and faculty at the University of Zimbabwe, conducted clinical sessions at clinics throughout Harare, and was the guest speaker at a local therapist supervision group. Jeff was the music facilitator at Project Common Bond in 2014, a summer symposium for international adolescents who lost family members to acts of terrorism, violent extremism, or war. Jeff returned to Africa in August 2015, this time to Yaoundé, Cameroon where he moved with his wife while she helps to advise an HIV Impact Assessment with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Jeff continues his journey as an international music therapist, as a student of music, culture, and healing.  Jeff also enjoys performing, recording, and teaching as a bassist and guitarist.

Ruth Verhey, The Friendship Bench Project

Ruth is a clinical psychologist who is involved in all the components of the Friendship Bench.She works with the Zee bag participants offering psychological support and direction. She is involved in developing the intervention, the manual and training for the lay health workers.She is also an outstanding baker and has ensured all the team have been well fed throughout the course of the project.




How to Cite

Angell, J. R., & Verhey, R. (2015). The More We Are Together, The Happier We Are: Peer Music in Mental Health Treatment in Zimbabwe. Voices: A World Forum for Music Therapy, 15(3).