Grand Bassa County Superintendent, Etweda Cooper, has called on members of the 53rd Legislature to support the Mental Health Bill by passing it in the budget in order to protect mentally-ill people throughout the country.
The Mental Illness awareness campaign is in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and the Liberia Crusaders for Peace and other partners. It is being held under the theme: Support the Mental Health Bill and protect mentally-ill people in your community, put more money into the Mental Health Budget, Mental Health is everybody’s business.”
Mental Illness refers to all diagnosable mental disorders such as depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia.
Madam Cooper made the statement yesterday in Buchanan following the “Teen platform” Public awareness, outreach and sensitization campaign on Mental Health Issues.
According to Madam Cooper, mental health problems are high in Liberia due to the use of drugs, effects of the war, and other issues that mainly affect young people.
“With all of these problems it is better that we tackle the increase of mentally ill people in the country roaming the streets with no place to be well taken care of.
If this bill is passed by the Legislature, it will help speed up the process by providing good centers for the mentally ill to be treated and protected,” Madam Cooper added.
Madam Cooper said she had observed that many people in Liberia believe that Mental illness is not treatable ,while some says if someone has a mental disorder that person can never improve; which is untrue.
“The quality of life of those with mental illness can be treated and protected in communities and the country. From today, my fellow citizens, I urge you not to see those affected with mental illness as bad people that don’t belong in our communities, but we as those who need help and protection.”
Serving as Keynote speaker for the program was 20 year old Miss. Liberia USA winner 2013-14 from Georgia USA, Samuriel Hina. Ms. Hina said following cases of mentally ill people in Liberia made her take the initiative of supporting awareness of the mentally ill and making sure they are protected and treated.
“As a Liberian, having seen the struggles my people go through from these illnesses, I took the initiative to work with the MOH, LCP to find solutions to the problem by providing them centers to have them protected.”
Ms. Hina promised to build a modern Library that would Liberian students further their studies and hoped to introduce other programs to benefit the youth.
For her part the Director of the Mental Health Unit, at MOH&SW, Dr. Meiko Dolo, thanked the Liberia Crusaders for Peace for partnering with the Ministry and other organizations to find solutions to the problem of mental illness in the country.
She described the intervention of LCP in the process as ‘a prayer answered’ for the Ministry; especially her department.
“The Ministry did not have the funds to foster the program and had to look up to the Legislature for help with passing the bill. The bill will stand as a tool for reducing the amount of mentally –ill people in the country.
Ambassador Juli Endee closed by adding her voice to the previous speakers, “I will work in my weak ways to see that mentally ill people are removed from our streets and that they are well taken care of and protected by their communities, families and doctors.”