ZWEDRU, Jan. 20 (LINA) – The Training Coordinator for the Carter Center Mental Health Training program, B. Alexander Y. Blackie, has described Liberia as ‘a breeding ground for mental illness.’
According to Blackie, the protracted civil conflict, Ebola Virus Disease outbreak, high unemployment rate among disadvantaged youths and adults, depression of people in homes, schools, workplaces, as well as drug abuse serve as gateways to the high rate of mental health problems in Liberia.
The Training Coordinator made the statement at a nine-day training for selected middle-level health workers in mental health programs in Zwedru, Grand Gedeh County.
The training is being conducted by the U.S-based Carter Center, according to the Training Coordinator.
Blackie revealed that participants were drawn from four clinics and school-based clinics who will serve in clinics at their various health centers in the county.
Clinics and health facilities covered in the training include Martha Tubman Memorial Hospital, Kanneh Community Clinic, Gboleken Clinic and the Zwedru Multilateral High School Clinic.
He said the General Mental Health program is currently being implemented at the Phebe Nursing Training Center with funding from other NGOs, while government will take over when the NGOs pull out.
He added that the child and adolescence mental health program will be implemented at the Deana Kay Isaacson Midwifery School in Zwedru.
Those undergoing the training will, upon completion, identify mental health conditions, manage those conditions at their levels and make referrals where necessary.
According to Blackie, Carter Center has trained over 102 child and adolescent mental health clinicians across the country.
Blackie pointed out that as an exit strategy, Carter Center has decided to institutionalize several programs, including the General Mental Health and Child and Adolescent Mental Health programs.
He, on behalf of Carter Center, extended appreciation to the county health authority for allowing their staff to partake in the training, and the midwifery school for rolling out the Child and Adolescence Mental Health program at the institution.
He said measures are being put in place for constant monitoring and supervision to ensure that they report to the institution regularly.
“They have been provided computers, modems and necessary logistics to enhance their work,” Blackie further disclosed.
Plans are underway to conduct a six-month training for health workers who are interested in mental health programs from February 4, to July 19, 2019, he revealed.
In a related development, a trainee at the center, Benjamin Wesseh, who works at the emergency room of the Martha Tubman Memorial Hospital, has lauded the Carter Center for conducting the training.
He said it has enabled participants to diagnose patients suffering from mental health problem, stressing: “I now have more detailed knowledge than what I was taught in school.”
The training in Zwedru, Grand Gedeh County ran from January 10-18.