Mental Health Care For The Most Vulnerable

Evidence-based Depression Treatment

Vida Plena trains local people to provide a structured, evidence-based model of counseling, called group Interpersonal Therapy (g-IPT), to empower individuals and communities to meet their own mental health needs.

The goals of g-IPT are rapid depression symptom reduction and improved relationships within the patient’s family and social networks. It is considered by experts as one of the most effective therapies for depression.

Studies show that in addition to decreasing depression, g-IPT also positively affects recipients and their families by decreasing intimate partner violence, anger, and post-traumatic stress.

Read more about our approach.

Who we serve

Both men and women who suffer from moderate to severe depression.

We especially seek to provide care to the Colombian and Venezualan refugee communities living in Ecuador.

All sessions are offered for no-cost.

Endorsed by the World Health Organization

Group Interpersonal Therapy (g-IPT)is the World Health Organization’s top recommended intervention for depression in low-income settings.

Developed by a team of experts from the Global Mental Health Lab at Columbia University and validated by local practitioners in low-resource settings, the model’s effectiveness has been tested in a variety of cross-cultural contexts.


A significant meta-analysis by the Happier Lives Insitute of 45 peer-reviewed studies estimates that this type of depression treatment is 10 times more cost-effective in improving subjective wellbeing than direct cash transfers (which are often used as a baseline comparison between programs).

Read our Predictive Cost-Effectiveness Analysis for the pilot program.

Results: changing lives

In early 2023 we will share the results of our initial pilot. Based on studies of similar programs we expect that:

Striking impact: 85% of people experience a significant reduction in depressive symptoms.

Lasting impact: in 6-month follow-ups, 75% of people continue to have reduced depression levels.

For training costs of only $193, one group facilitator can treat 400 people a year

A key component of the Vida Plena intervention is training non-specialists as the support group facilitators. This model has been demonstrated as effective in multiple studies and results in significant cost-savings.

Additionally, this model has been endorsed by public health experts as it frees up the time of clinical psychologists to treat more severe mental health disorders.