The Ministry of Health in Monrovia has disclosed here it has trained 166 mental health practitioners in response to huge presence of mentally challenged people in the society.
Liberia’s Chief Medical Officer and Deputy Minister of Health, Francis Kateh, said the essence of the training is to enable government to adequately respond to people with mental disability across the country.
There are barely two psychiatric homes here, in a country where mentally ill people roam the streets of Monrovia, the capital, and its environs, attacking unsuspecting passers-by and vehicles with accompanying traffic jam.
Addressing reporters Thursday, October 8, at the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism on Capitol Hill, Doctor Kateh called on Liberians to buttress government’s efforts in mental health challenges in the country.
He said government is joining other nations to celebrate World Mental Health Day this Saturday, 10 October with the theme, “Dignity in Mental Health.” Dr. Katehsaid the World Health Organization or WHO chose this particular theme for this year’s celebration because dignity is the quality or state of being worthy, honored, or esteemed. He emphasized that as human beings, mentally ill personsare valuable, important, and if rehabilitated, they could be useful to the society again, saying “Just like us, they deserve to be treated with care, and respect.”
The deputy minister noted the W.H.O.also selected “Dignity in Mental Health”to educate citizens how to treat people with mental illness. He said often these people are abandoned by relatives and friends, which exacerbates their health condition and dampens their chances of recovering from their illness.
According to him, mental health should not be restricted to people, who are crazy, but people, who behave abnormally or engage in actions that do not represent them as sober minded human beings, saying,“It is not restricted to you being on the streets, but just sitting and talking by yourself or doing things that will catch the attention of other people.”
“It saddens me to see our young men and women taking in dangerous substances that will cause future implication them.All they want to do is just drink without considering that these things have future implications.
By Lewis S. Teh- Edited by Jonathan Browne