By Paul M. Kanneh
LIBERIA – Mother of Light a local group engaged in mental health programs in Liberia, Saturday, October 1st, 2022, joined other local and international organizations to commemorate World Mental Health Day. The program was graced by a parade through some major streets in Paynesville. Some Youth Groups including officials from the Ministry of Health, Carter Center, and Mother of Light graced the occasion.
Making remarks at the program, Mother of Light Acting Project Coordinator, Samkay Z. Karworzohn noted that this year’s mental health celebration is in support of efforts to fight mental health issues affecting young people, adding, “Suicide should not be an option for those suffering from mental health”.
Samkay indicated that Mother of Light is working in partnership with the Ministry of Health, Carter Center, Medicines San Frontier, and Liberia Drugs Enforcement Agency to address mental health issues.
The Acting Coordinator of Mother of Light told the press that their partnership with those institutions is only limited to technical and manpower assistance but not financial support as many people are made to believe.
She, however, disclosed that the World Lebanese Cultural Union, some local and international businesses, and philanthropists are those supporting programs of Mother of Light.
Responding to questions on thematic program areas, Samkay asserted that Mother of Light has three program areas, which include: Prevention, Community Based, and “We Connect”. The prevention aspect deals with school-related mental health prevention activities, while the community based and we connect aspects to deal with substance abuse and scholarship, mainly in kickball, volleyball, and football.
Madam Samkay Z. Karworzohn used the occasion to call on the public to take mental health issues as a global threat, adding everyone should work towards the fight against mental health. She also urged the public to exercise restraint and limit the stigmatization of patients with mental health. “We can only succeed in the fight to address mental health programs if we limit stigmatization of patients by calling them names and isolating them, Samkay added.
At the same time, the Acting Program Coordinator of Mother of Light has called on the Government of Liberia, the general public, and stakeholders to support their ongoing efforts to construct a rehabilitation center for patients.
She intimated that the government of Liberia has already seconded three technical staff to Mother of Light, one of which is a medical doctor who was sent to Lebanon for advanced training in mental health.