The chair of the Liberian Senate Committee on Health, Gender, Children and Social Protection,Senator Peter Coleman, has observed that persons with mental illness in the country face serious detention from community dwellers.
Senator Coleman, a medical doctor and former Minister of Health, says the plight of people with mental illness is alarming to the fact that they have been stigmatized by society, including community residents, something which imposes serious detention to them.
He emphasized that tackling mental health illness needs full collaboration and cooperation of every individual in stamping it out of Liberia. According to him, by avoiding or ostracizing persons with mental disability does no good, but only contributes to endangering their lives, and shortening their chances of living, saying “They requires serious attention like we the normal persons but if we abandoned them in the society then we leave them with no option.”
Senator Coleman spoke Saturday, October 10th, at program in celebration of World Mental Health Day in Sinkor at the Monrovia Christian Fellowship Church compound. The day, observed globally, was celebrated under the theme,“Dignity in Mental Health.”
It brought together officials from the Ministries of Gender, and Health including partners from the World Health Organization, Carter Center, and students from various high schools across Monrovia.
Senator Coleman said it was about time that people with mental disability receive attention because they face serious detention relative to their physical condition, adding, “Many times these people are excluded from every development program in the country, including the restriction in their ability to access good medical treatment from various hospitals,clinics, and other health facilities.”
He said they continue to live in extreme poverty, which prevents them from getting rehabilitated and reintegrated into society coupled with stigmatization. Meanwhile, the Grand Kru County Senator has promised to prevail his colleagues in Senate to expeditiously passthe mental health Act into law, saying, “As member of the committee on Ways,Means and Finance, I will waste no time in making sure that this Act passes for the benefit of people living with mental illness.” He also promised to ensure that when it is enacted, budgetary allocation would be made to cater to persons with mental disability across Liberia.
By Lewis S. Teh -Edited by Jonathan Browne