Examining how people around the world view mental health can help us understand the broader picture — how and why people seek therapy in order to tackle the issues of daily life like depression, anxiety, relationships and more. The mentality around therapy is shifting in some places, and in many countries, citizens are stepping in to help break stigma and care for one another.

In West Africa, a new initiative to train hairdressers in mental health counseling is providing relief to hundreds of clients in a region with the world’s least access to therapy. About 150 female hairdressers have received mental health training in West and Central African cities from a nonprofit trying to fill a critical gap: provide mental health care in one of the world’s poorest regions, where counseling remains barely accessible, let alone accepted.

Many African countries face an urgent need for more, and better mental health therapy: to contend with what the World Health Organization has described as a “mental health gap” in developing countries, local nonprofits and international organizations operating in Africa are training nurses, general practitioners, even grandmothers, in spotting mental health troubles, from early signs of depression to post-traumatic stress disorder.

Learn more about these amazing efforts.

Therapy around the world: West Africa trains hairdressers in mental health counseling