In what is seen as a boost to the nation's emerging mental healthcare system, 19 clinicians specializing in child and adolescent mental health graduated on October 8, in Monrovia, from a training program developed by The Carter Center's Mental Health Program, in partnership with authorities of the ministries of Health, Education as well as Gender, Children and Social Protection.
The graduates, according to a release, are the fifth cohort of clinicians with focus on children and youth that will provide mental health and psycho-social care in schools, clinics, and other child and youth-centered settings.
"Liberia is making a brighter future for all of its citizens by investing in the mental health of adults, children, and adolescents," said former U.S. First Lady and The Carter Center (TCC) Co-founder, Rosalynn Carter.
The graduates bring to 268 the total number of professionals trained through collaboration between the TCC Mental Health Program and the Liberian government, to improve access to mental health services.
The clinicians work in primary care facilities, hospitals, and other settings frequented by children, such as daycare centers and schools, across all 15 counties to provide much needed care as the country seeks to strengthen its mental health services.
This group of Liberian nurses, physician assistants, and registered midwives completed a free, six-month Child and Adolescent Post-Basic Mental Health Training Program at the Tubman National Institute of Medical Arts (TNIMA) in Monrovia.
Liberia is on course to reach its goal of expanding access to mental healthcare to 70 percent of the population in the next few years.
Previously, the release said Liberia, which has a current population of about 4.6 million, had one psychiatrist to meet the needs of at least 300,000 Liberians suffering from mental illnesses. But graduates of TCC program passed a credentialing exam administered earlier by the Liberian Board of Nursing and Midwifery and the Liberia Physician Assistants Association to practice as licensed mental health clinicians. This allows them to return to their counties of practice as child and adolescent mental health specialists and to practice in primary care settings that focus on children and adolescents or to begin working in school-based clinics.