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Families seek support for mentally-ill people

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Families of mentally-ill (MI) persons in Liberia are calling on government to provide essential drugs for them, noting that mental illness poses serious threat to the normality of said individuals.

Speaking at a three-day intensive training on Anti Stigma & Discrimination for people living with Mental Illness sponsored by Carter Center in collaboration with the Mental Health Reporter Network (MHRN), students studying Mass Communication stresses that Mentally-ill persons have equal rights like any ordinary citizen.

Mrs. Catherine Jallah, wife of a consumer user laments her husband was not born mad.

A consumer user is a person, who was once mentally-ill and has now recovered but, at times relapses or goes back in crisis.

According to her, with the pieces of family advice, coupled with her personal thoughts, she had thought to refuse his quest, but later decided to agree on grounds that he was not born with such situation.

Ms Jallah notes that her husband behaves abnormal when he is not taking his medication, but adds that she always played her supportive role whenever he experiences a relapse.

“My husband is educated, but he was denied job opportunity on countless occasions because of his situation. With the prevailing situation, he decided to venture into agriculture and it was how we educated our five children”, she explains.

According to her, as wife and caretaker, she always reminds her husband to take his medication to keep him stabilized.

For her part, Magdalene Flomo, a daughter of a consumer user narrates that her father finds himself in a situation where he does not get overly excited or happy in order to avoid relapsing into his mental sickness.

She continues that her entire family has studied the situation about her father to the extent that whenever he enters his state of crisis (abnormality) they are fully aware and immediately call the doctor or immediately take him to hospital.

The Deputy Program Lead at Carter Center-Liberia, Wilfred Gwakolo, applauds the students for their participation in the training, but reminds them to effectively practicalize lessons learnt from the exercise.

He says Carter Center did not just organize the workshop to waste fund, but instead, to ensure that anti- stigmatization and discrimination message is trumpeted across the country.

A student of the African Methodist Episcopal University Magdalene Saah, thanks the organizer for the workshop and promises that the lesson learnt will be implemented.

She notes the training gives students a broad knowledge about how to report on people living with mental health illness and their importance to society, once properly catered for.

By Roosevelt G. Jabah

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