The Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MOHSW) Thursday, May 8, celebrated the International Children’s Mental Health Day under the theme, “Inspiring Resilience, Creative Hope.”
The event, held on the compound of the Health Ministry, brought together government officials students and community dwellers.
Speaking at the occasion, Yeetlen Niapeh, a Medical Health practitioner at the John F. Kennedy Medical Center (JFK) urged parents to promote resilience amongst their children in order to help them solve their mental challenges; adding that they (parents) should be resilient in their speeches and activities.
She noted that Liberia has no mental health facilities and medications to help children combat mental health issues.
“We do not have mental health facilities here, so parents, community dwellers, and family members should help children in the process. Mental health problem is difficult to the upbringing of every child, so we must take a step in helping these children, because they are our future and Liberia wants the best of them,” she said.
Madam Niapeh highlighted peer pleasure, early marriage and teenage pregnancy as some of the challenges that lead to mental health disorder in children.
She recommended to the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare that a policy be put in place to address cases of mental illness in children.
“I will also want to recommend that the Catherine Mills Mental Health facility is rehabilitated. With that we will have a starting point and from there, we know where to go again.”
She also called on school authorities to create counseling sections in our schools because, the children spend most of their hours in school,” she said.
Also speaking, Mrs. Theresa J. Grandoe, Deputy Chief of Interpol Liberia National Police, acknowledged that mental health problems are originated from the home and family.
She noted that most family members tend not to know about their children’s daily activities, adding that as a result, many children get involved to move around with the wrong friends.
She also urged parents to report to the LNP if they have cases of exploitation against their children, because exploitation is one of the main causes that lead to mental health disorder.
“Liberia needs a strong law to combat drugs trafficking. We need to join hands to track down culprits that are making the lives of our children difficult and stop them from escaping. We have started what we call the Yellow Notice. This is to help trace perpetrators of crimes. Once you have a case of sexual violence and exploitation, just report the case and if we enter it in our data base, we can track down criminals no matter where they are,” she stressed.