Sierra Leone

Mental illness and health in Sierra Leone affected by Ebola: lessons for health workers

Sierra Leone is currently going through the worst Ebola epidemic on record, creating anxiety and anxiety related, somatic symptoms. Additionally, increased psychiatric morbidity could be expected as a result of the adverse social and psychological consequences of the epidemic, exposing the country's weak, poorly resourced mental health services and highlighting the need for psychosocial interventions and development of psychiatric interventions.

Psychosocial support during the Ebola outbreak in Kailahun, Sierra Leone

This field report describes the author's deployment as a psychosocial delegate to the International Federation of Red Cross Ebola epidemic response in Sierra Leone during June and July 2014. He highlights the ongoing impact of an epidemic in a post conflict zone, how addressing fear and stigma is essential in social mobilisation and capacity building efforts, as well as providing empowering messages that give hope and foster collaboration between epidemic responders and community members.

How to eat an elephant: psychosocial support during an Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone

This field report summarises some of the problems, challenges and psychosocial issues facing Sierra Leone Red Cross National Society staff and volunteers, related to the Ebola Virus Disease outbreak, as well as local responses at a time when the rest of the world was just becoming aware of the disease as a real threat.

The disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of child soldiers: social and psychological transformation in Sierra Leone

This article gives an overview of the processes of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of child soldiers in Sierra Leone. In contrast to many other situations, in Sierra Leone there has been an effective, integrated response involving a large number of civil society organizations and committees as well as the government.

Cleansing the wounds of war: an examination of traditional healing, psychosocial health and reintegration in Sierra Leone

Traditional healing ceremonies have been lauded as an effective and integral aspect of psychosocial healing and reintegration for children associated with the fighting forces. This article describes the results of a qualitative study of the effects of traditional cleansing ceremonies for girl soldiers who are survivors of rape in Sierra Leone. The principal research question asked how these purification rituals contribute to psychosocial healing and reintegration. Two overarching themes emerged from the data.

PDF: 

Developing culturally relevant indicators of reintegration for girls, formerly associated with armed groups, in Sierra Leone using a participative ranking methodology

This article describes a participative ranking methodology for identifying local understanding of reintegration and adjustment of potential value in programme planning and evaluation. It was applied in the specific context of girls formerly associated with fighting forces in Sierra Leone. Fourteen discussion groups, utilizing spontaneous listing and participative ranking activities, within a focus group framework, were conducted in 10 communities.

PDF: 

Engaging war affected youth through photography: Photovoice with former child soldiers in Sierra Leone

Photovoice is a community based participatory research method that combines photography, community awareness building, group discussions, and social action. Photovoice seeks to enable both individuals and groups, particularly those facing marginalisation and disempowerment, to record and reflect on community strengths and challenges, through photography.

Mental health capacity building in northern Sierra Leone: lessons learned and issues raised

Ten years after a brutal and protracted war, Sierra Leone remains very much in recovery. Despite the need for increased and long term mental health services, such resources remain scarce. Mental health capacity building is required, and includes: the community sensitisation of mental illness and treatment; the training of health professionals and lay persons; the advocacy for changes in national mental health policy; and the provision of mental health services.