The psychological impact of more than a decade of civil conflict, which ended in 2003, has contributed to a mental health crisis in Liberia, intensified by: misconceptions, stigma and resulting discrimination surrounding mental illnesses; lack of mental health care training for health professionals; and inadequate supplies of necessary medications. The Carter Center’s Mental Health Program in Liberia, now in its second year, is working in partnership with the Liberia Ministry of Health and Social Welfare to improve access to much needed mental health services. To date, the Carter Center has graduated more than 100 mental health clinicians, who now work in all of Liberia’s 15 counties. The Center also supports efforts to standardize psychosocial credentialing for 300 other health workers who previously received some minimal mental health training from nongovernmental organizations working in the country immediately after the war. Nursing and physician assistant educators are included as students in the classes to help ensure sustainability when the program eventually is handed over to the Liberian government.
The architect of the curriculum developed for this Carter Center initiative is Gail Stuart, PhD, RN, FAAN. Dr. Stuart is both Dean and Distinguished University Professor at the Medical University of South Carolina’s College of Nursing. She is also a founding member of the Annapolis Coalition and Chair of its Board of Directors.
More information about the Carter Center’s Mental Health Program can be found here.
More information about the mental health crisis in Liberia can be found here.