The Speaker for the Children Parliament in Liberia Jutomue Boetien is calling on the Government of Liberia to make drugs offense a non – bailable. Delivering a keynote address at the National Mental Health Program in Congo Town Wednesday, 10 October, Jutomue says Government should take serious measures on those that are taking in drugs so as to reduce the high take-in of drugs here.
Regarding mental health, Jutomue says it is an issue in Liberia that needs to be addressed promptly, saying young people are the ones that are mainly affected.“We the young people need to [be] afraid [of] taking in drugs because we will spoil our own future,” he says.
Jutomue also says the community needs to play a major role in putting an end to mental health.He adds that mental health starts with children at the age 14 and above, noting that it is the same age at which young Liberians start to take in harmful substances.
The World Health Organization Regional Director for Africa Dr. Matshidiso Moeti’s World Mental Day message says that worldwide, 10 to 20% of children and adolescents suffer from mental disorder. Dr. Moeti indicates that depression is the third leading cause of mental illness and disability among adolescent globally, while suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15 to 29 years.
She adds that the harmful use alcohol and illicit drugs among adolescents contribute to risky behaviors such as violence, unsafe sex and dangerous driving. She notes that in the African region, it is estimated that 5% of the population age below 15 years suffer from a mental disorder.
“As we celebrate World Mental Health Day, I call upon governments to develop and strengthen evidence-based programmes for young people, with support of national policy makers and programme managers,” she concludes.
By Ethel A. Tweh–Edited by Winston W. Parley