The Inquirer (Monrovia)

Liberia: Mental Illness, an Issue of Concern

editorial

THE ISSUE OF mental illness in our country is a serious one that must be given serious attention as people with such disability continue to roam the streets of Monrovia and other parts of the country. These people at times attack peaceful citizens and residents, a situation that has instilled fear in the ordinary person.

THIS HAS CREATED a serious concern as citizens continue to call on the government to find means by which such a problem can be addressed by sending such individuals to mental rehabilitation centers and given the proper medical attention to alleviate the situation.

IN SEARCH OF a solution to this national problem, the Assistant Minister for Preventive Services at the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Mr. Tolbert Nyenswah has disclosed that the Ministry is training mid- level clinicians to be mental health clinicians. He said the Ministry of Health has already trained 79 mental health clinicians and 16 others are expected to graduate this week.

ADDRESSING A PRESS conference recently at the Ministry of Health in Congo Town, Minister Nyenswah told journalists that Liberia has only two psychiatrists. He also noted that government is making efforts for each of the 15 counties to have at least one mental health clinician.

LIKE THE GENERAL public Mr. Nyenswah said the Ministry recognizes the significant challenges faced in addressing these needs and that the Ministry also recognizes the growing need to provide services and support individuals with mental, neurological and substance use disorders in communities throughout Liberia. According to him, the Ministry of Health wants to assure the public that they are equally concerned about ensuring that the needs of people with mental, neurological and substance use disorders are addressed consistent with global mental health best practices.

THIS IS A welcome move by the government but there is a need to go a step further by ensuring that the only two psychiatrists the country has be increased to at least 15 to work along with the mental health clinicians that will be deployed throughout the country.

THIS PROBLEM MUST indeed be given serious attention because besides coming down with the illness, the Liberian civil war also exacerbated the problem. Action must be taken to take people with mental illness from the streets and give them medical treatment thus making the society a peaceful place to live without fear.

IN THIS REGARD, we therefore urge the requisite line ministry to increase its effort in dealing with this problem in a bid to restore the dignity of those affected.

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