Equitable Health Systems


Same Same: A lifeline for LGBTQI+ youth

SameSame provides mental health support to LGBTQI+ youth living in countries where fear and stigma prevent equitable access to identity-affirming care.

Team Lead

Jono McKay

Solution Pitch

The Problem

Across the globe, LGBTQI+ youth are at much higher risk of depression, anxiety, and other mental health challenges — compromising their health, education, earning potential, and ability to realize their potential.

The Solution

SameSameprovides mental health support to LGBTQI+ youth living in countries where fear and stigma prevent equitable access to identity-affirming care. A WhatsApp chat bot provides users with access to a proven mental health intervention that has been adapted to be delivered through the most widely-accessible messaging platform on the planet, putting critical information and inclusive support within reach of millions of young people who often have nowhere else to turn.


  • SameSame is accessible in South Africa today, but hasn’t launched yet.

  • SameSame estimates that there are between 517,500 and 607,500 LGBTQI+ youth, between 15 and 24, who have sufficient mobile access to engage with the chat bot in South Africa. 

Market Opportunity

Samesame is geared towards all LGBTQI+ youth, between 15 and 24, who have access to a mobile phone, with a particular focus on those facing mental health challenges in countries where identify-affirming care is scarce or even dangerous to access.

Organization Highlights

  • At the core of the SameSame content offering is an intervention called AFFIRMative CBT (also referred to as AFFIRM) — a tailored CBT model that responds to the specific stressors experienced by LGBTQI+ groups. AFFIRM consists of eight modules of content that are focused on reducing depression and improving coping skills. The AFFIRM content was developed by Dr. Shelley Craig, a professor at the University of Toronto and the Canada Research Chair of Sexual and Gender Minority Youth, and a number of other collaborators. AFFIRM is a research project based out of University of Toronto and is funded by The Public Health Agency of Canada. It has made its CBT course available to SameSame for the duration of the projects in South Africa and Zimbabwe and the team is supportive of efforts to scale.

  • Partnering with grassroots organizations in the countries the solution operates in, including Hands of Hope and GALZ in Zimbabwe.

Partnership Goals

Same Same seeks:

  • A board member or advisor that has experience offering services that may be subject to hostile government scrutiny. In many of the places SameSame intends to work, the provision of information related to sexual orientation and gender identity could be interpreted as falling foul of government regulations and SameSame is looking for someone to help prepare for and navigate these situations.

Organization Type: Nonprofit

Headquarters: Cape Town, South Africa

Stage: Prototype

Working In: South Africa

Current Employees: 7

Solution Website: www.samesamecollective.org

Solution Team:

  • Jono McKay Co-founder, SameSame

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