Liberia is gradually becoming a transit country for illicit narcotics and the abuse of those substance is affecting our young generation. The country’s weak law enforcement capacity, porous border controls, and proximity to major drug transit routes contributes to an uptick in trafficking to and through Liberia. A recent unpublished study by Center for Liberia’s Future found that weak family systems, peer pressure, abuse and/or abandonment by family members have the tendency to lure these young people to street life. No reliable data exists on the prevalence of drug use or overall drug trafficking trends through the country.
With funding from NOCAL, LiCORMH will contribute to realizing the national mental health policy and strategic plan. Currently, there is no specialized addiction treatment center in Liberia that offers evidence-based treatment for persons with substance use disorders (SUD). E S Grant Mental Health Hospital, the nation's only psychiatric hospital in Liberia, provides limited treatment to persons with mental health and substance use disorders. The high demand for treatment and the limited bed capacity at this facility, results in only a small proportion of persons in need of addiction services being served. Only 7 other facilities offer limited services in the management of SUD, none of these facilities have specialized staff, infrastructure and resources to offer a comprehensive treatment package of assessment, management and aftercare services. The LiCORMH initiative will develop a multi-specialty center (Wellness Unit) staffed by mental health clinicians and addiction specialists and build the human resource to manage this center. This center will be built in Margibi County. The National Mental Health Policy calls for the establishment of at least one wellness unit in each county. Presently, there are only 3 wellness units in Bong, Grand Kru and River Gee Counties, two are functional and one is being furnished for use.
In addition to building a wellness unit, the grant from NOCAL provides partial funding for the training of addiction specialists. At the brief disbursement event, the Public Education Officer for NOCAL, Mr. Ambulai Mamey said, "NOCAL is proud to support mental health and to support the Government of Liberia to implement its national mental health policy." He further stated that he believes the establishment of this wellness unit will provide a facility with trained staff to manage short-term crisis amongst street youths. Responding on behalf of LiCORMH, Board Chair, Mrs. Cecelia Morris, expressed her delight in the funding to undertake a project based on evidence of what works.
Organization’s Background and Contact Details: The 2009 Mental Health Policy called for the creation of a Center of Excellence in Mental Health. The Liberia Center for Outcomes Research in Mental Health (LiCORMH) was formed under the auspices of the Technical Coordinating Committee for Mental Health and through a Memorandum of Understanding with The Carter Center, the Ministry of Health and the John F. Kennedy Medical Center to serve this purpose. It is designed to ensure that Liberia advances mental health through the availability of quality services and supports for its people. LiCORMH supports effective health services through the identification and dissemination of quality, research-informed practices; the development of appropriate models of service delivery based on local research; and, the infusion of evidence-based mental health practice into education and training. Contact: Sehwah Sonkarlay, Staff @ email@example.com.
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