Partners In Health Liberia provides mental healthcare at two clinics: JJ Dossen Hospital and Pleebo Health Center, the only regional hospital and health centers in southeast Liberia that contain clinics exclusively for mental health. As there are limited specialized mental health staff, local clinicians work in a task-sharing referral-based mental health system and collaborate closely with the Ministry of Health (MOH) to integrate mental health into primary care and drive innovation. PIH’s team strengthens facility-based mental health services to address coverage gaps, conducting psychoeducation, crisis management for emergency cases, and providing comprehensive treatment and support to identified patients.
The team advocates for mental health as a human right and its integration into the primary care system at the county and national levels. Mental health clinicians and primary care staff have been trained to accurately screen, diagnose, and treat people living with mental health conditions, using the WHO mhGAP, PIH curricula, and the Common Elements Treatment Approach (CETA).
Mental health Outreach
PIH Liberia works extensively to provide care and educate community members about mental health conditions via patient-led radio broadcasts, training, and traditional/faith healer engagement to destigmatize mental health conditions. Clinicians work with patients, families, and caretakers to normalize mental health conditions and demystify treatment, emphasizing the reintegration element of PIH’s Value Chain. Among their many community outreach efforts, they launched an innovative school mental health program, improving mental health awareness and school retention for over 3,500 students, parents and teachers in seven schools.
In 2021, PIH Liberia established psychosocial rehabilitation groups with peers and caregivers of people with severe mental health conditions to help recovering patients attain an optimal level of functioning and minimize disability by increasing individuals’ capacity to live successfully in the community. They implement a Community-Based Psychosocial Rehabilitation Curriculum and Training Package (developed by a working group across PIH), which champions a human-rights-centered approach to social reintegration by placing service users at the center of decision-making. Former patients are recruited as psychosocial volunteers and have helped expand the vocational program to help vulnerable patients establish income-generating activities, such as working in the local market.
A close partnership with the community health team provides treatment and social support to patients who are homeless and suffer from severe mental health conditions. The program reunites these patients with their families and promotes rehabilitation, stigma reduction, and community reintegration.
A close partnership with the community health team provided treatment and social support to over 150 people who were homeless and suffering from severe mental health conditions. Community Health Workers (CHWs) worked alongside community members to reunite these patients with their families and promote rehabilitation, stigma reduction, and community reintegration. Learn more about the program.
The team is collaborating with CHWs and traditional healers to promote quality improvement projects that increase case detection and referral of patients with common mental health disorders. They are also enhancing the quality of data management and launched their electronic medical record system in 2020 to collect and organize patient data at the facility level.