Following decades-long Civil War and the Ebola outbreak, an estimated 10% of Sierra Leone’s population experiences mental health conditions; yet the country has only one specialized mental health facility and less than a handful of trained psychiatrists. PIH Sierra Leone’s community-based mental health program expands access to mental health services by integrating care at the community and primary care levels.
Community Mental Health and Primary Care Program in Kono District: Through community outreach and extensive training, community health workers (CHWs) and counsellors work to reduce stigma and link people living with mental health conditions to appropriate care at Wellbody primary health care unit and Koidu Government Hospital (KGH). Supportive visits and mentorship further enhance the identification and management of common mental health conditions. The team’s acute needs and homeless outreach program (started with a training from PIH Liberia) continues to offer treatment and psychosocial support to people living with mental health conditions and to facilitate reintegration with the community.
Facility Development for Psychiatric Treatment: In strong partnership with the Ministry of Health, PIH is working to restore SLPTH by strengthening referral networks and ensuring access to essential medications and services for severe mental health conditions. The highest levels of government have recognized the infrastructural and psychiatric developments that have taken place as SLPTH continues to expand clinical operations, build a greater workforce, and strengthen the overall health system.