In Liberia, a brutal civil war killed thousands and forced millions to flee. More than a million Liberians – about a third of the population – were forced from their homes by the 14-year war.
In 2005, as the violence subsided, CVT moved with returning refugees from refugee camps in Guinea to provide community-based mental health services in Monrovia, the country’s capitol, and Bong County. In 2006, we expanded to Lofa County in northern Liberia, an area almost entirely depopulated during the war.
In Liberia, CVT was the only provider of in-depth mental health services for survivors of torture and war trauma in Liberia. We provided small group and individual counseling for 4,192 women, men and children in Liberia.
- Trained Liberian paraprofessional mental health counselors to serve as counselors, trainers and human rights advocates who can advocate for the mental health needs of Liberians as their country rebuilds.
- Conducted community activities that raised awareness of the prevalence and effects of torture. These activities not only allowed us to identify people in need of healing services, but involved the community in the healing process by gaining knowledge that changed beliefs related to trauma symptoms.
- Worked with government ministries, nongovernmental organizations, educational institutions and others to establish the National Mental Health Task Force, and coordinated efforts to establish a national mental health policy and referral system.
- Trained a graduating class of correctional officers, the first in more than 20 years.
- Conducted a comprehensive training on tactics for rebuilding after war in Monrovia with civil and human rights advocates from eight African nations.
CVT worked in Liberia from 2005 until 2008. Our work was funded by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration and the UN Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture.