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Citizens Advocate For Mental Illness Services

By Mafanta Kromah

Concerned citizens have called for mental illness services in Liberia, noting that Liberians have suffered moderate mental disorders and yet the country lacks such services, and that majority of the health workers have limited understanding of mental illness.

They stressed that lack of appropriate services for mental illness is something that should draw the attention health authorities in the country, aimed at helping to reduce the rate of mad people on the streets.

Speaking to In Profile reporter Wednesday in Monrovia, Mary Susu, a businesswoman said mental illness is common and can begin at any age, from childhood to adult years.

She noted that the effects can be temporary or long lasting because there is no proper care for mentally ill people; especially those on the streets, due to the use of alcohol and recreational drugs, as well as those being abused and neglected as children with little healthy relationships.

Mrs. Susu indicated that one of the main ways to reduce mental illness in Liberia is to build a modern mental recovery Center that promotes recovery through peer support, education, socialization and training which will help them build better lives themselves and gain empowerment, maintain independence and earn acceptance within their homes and communities.

At the same time, Musu Robert, another citizen, cautioned that mental illnesses are always stigmas in their various communities and to reduce them, government has to be acknowledged of addressing mental illness with policy.

She also said social policy and histories of trauma affect people through generation, meaning invisible things can affect stress levels of people leading to mental illness.

Musu called on the government to bring in the teaching of empathy and emotional regulation skills as part of primary and secondary education curriculum, adding, ‘This will help the young ones understand themselves, express themselves in a healthy way and reduce shame to be sad as being a male or female and also reduce shame to hide pain which can lead to self-harm. This will help our next generation.’’