By R. Joyclyn Wea
John F. Kennedy Medical Center (JFK) in collaboration with E.S Grant Mental Health Hospital on October 10, 2018 joined nations around the world to celebrate the “World Mental Health day”.
At the indoor program, Carter Center Mental Health program training coordinator, Alexander Blackie asserted that Liberia is a breeding ground for mental health illness among young people.
The day was celebrated under the theme: “young people and mental health is a changing world.”
About 20 percent of adolescent may experience a mental health problem in a given years of their lives, 50% of mental health problems are established 14 and 75% by age 24. 10%of children and young people (age 5-16 years) have a clinically diagnosable mental problem, yet 70% of children and adolescents who experience mental health problems have not had appropriate intervention at the early age according to WHO.
Alexander Blackie “I come to this realization that because after 171 years of existence, Liberia has been on the road of economic, social, political and civil crisis which have been affecting the life of the people greatly.”
Blackie said the increase used of online technologies, while undoubtedly bringing many benefits, can also add pressures, as connectively to virtual networks at any time of the day and night grows can lead to mental illness.
He said the issue of mental illness is as a result of the lack of proper health care system and the inability of politicians being unable to give young people scholarship but sued them medium for their voices to be heard.
“How can young people be mentally healthy when officers that are to arrest drugs dealers are now drugs distributors? I mean how can young people be mentally healthy when there are distinct names for one crime (stealing and corruption)?” Blackie questioned
Blackie said the issue of mental illness is a serious challenge because the country has turned into a nation where young people are not given jobs based on merit, but connections and sexual deviance adding that poverty still creeps at the doors of vast majority while the minority live luxury life.
JFK Deputy Chief Executive Officer for Administration Dr. Dama Yekerson-Koffa said the new JFK Administration prioritizes E.S. Grant Medical Hospital because there is more work that needs to be done to address mental health across the country.
Dr. Yekerson-Koffa said there is a need to integrate mental health into healthcare, adding “people are not only into mental health facilities because they have abused drugs. There are many problems that cause mental illness which need the assistance of the public not to discrimination.