Mental illnesses are silent, yet dangerous problems that have penetrated society and are slowly ruining lives, like any physical illness could. The anguish of Liberia’s mental health status is an age-old tale. Since the founding of Liberia, we have managed to successfully operate just one mental health hospital and after over 30 years of civil unrest, Liberia’s psychological state has been diminished further. The civil crisis gave rise to trauma, depression and other forms of mental illnesses while destroying every effort that was previously made to improve mental health care in Liberia. The only psychiatric hospital in the country lost all sustainable funding and was left without professionals and equipment. Liberians who became mentally ill were left to fend for themselves, resulting into a rise in homelessness and although less than majority of children in Liberia did not experience the war, growing up with traumatized parents and peers inadvertently affected these children.
In 2014, Liberia was hit again with another traumatic epidemic, the Ebola virus outbreak. Many loved ones were lost, leaving families in a very fragile state- mourning and fearing for their health. Ebola took a toll on the entire country, which in turn intensified Liberia’s mental health problems. The endemic and civil crisis have left the streets of major cities and communities in Montserrado County filled with young people showing textbook symptoms of depression and PTSD (usually called “Zogos”); this is overwhelming for a country that is aiming to elevate from the k-stage of underdevelopment. Mental Care-Liberia sees this situation as a problem that needs long-term solutions for the development of the young people and the country as a whole. We recognize the huge demand for mental health awareness and education in Liberia. In this light, Mental Care-Liberia was formed to create awareness about Mental Health related issues and provide additional assistance for victims of stigmatization, all while being cognizant of works being done by other organizations and institutions around mental health issues in Liberia.
Mental Care-Liberia is a non-profit organization created by a team of Liberians with the burning desire to bring awareness to and change the narrative of mental health and illness in Liberia. Given our diverse professions, we came together with the realization that we could all to help make a difference. We focus on raising awareness on mental health and illness as well as creating a platform to allow mentally challenged young Liberians talk about their crisis. We aim to connect service users to mental health professionals. Mental Care-Liberia has successfully adopted and developed various social media techniques and strategies to shine light and draw public attention to mental health and illnesses through our primary online channels: a website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Our main activity is the provision of a suicide/distress hotline, which provides suicide intervention as well as mental health first-aid to callers or texters experiencing crisis -all of whom are subsequently referred to appropriate professionals for specialized care. Mental Care-Liberia works assiduously to help all people prevent and overcome mental disorders, to provide adequate information, education, encouragement, and support for people living with either mild or severe mental illnesses.
Through the collaborative efforts of our team, we aim to educate Liberians about mental illness and all its forms. We aim to reach every part of Liberia with the education and promotion of mental health awareness while helping young people cope with mental illness and save lives.
Mental Care-Liberia is a team of Liberians dedicated to positively changing the conversation of mental health in Liberia. Our team is committed to creating a safe environment for psychological growth and development of Liberians. Our team is committed to building strong positive relationships with people affected while providing them a platform to openly address their problems.
Goals and Objectives
- Creating a help call line coupled with complete confidentiality;
- Creating a safe space for people to freely share personal stories about their mental health problems;
- Providing support to students, young people and communities through network relationship; and
- Striving to be compassionate and respectful to everyone based on individuality.
Young people between the ages 12 years and older are our main target demographic. Young people make up a bulk portion of the Liberian population and are the ones most affected. Focusing on them will do a great deal in making the next generation of adults mentally stable.Scope of Operation: (Temporary)
This the second of a two-part series. This part highlights an organization in the movement to create awareness on mental health-related issues in Liberia. The earlier first part of this series detailed the author’s experiences with mental illnesses, anxiety, and depression. People from all walks of life are affected by mental health related issues and behavioral disorders, Liberians included, and these issues ought to be talked about and addressed. The author, as well as the founders of the organization highlighted in this part of the series, are dedicated to creating this change.
Short Story by Anonymous