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Psychiatric Center Opens In Freetown

Psychiatric Center Opens In Freetown

The first ever Psychiatric Health Center dubbed “Long Life Center for Wellness & Prevention” has been opened in Portee east of Freetown municipality to treat people with mental illness related issues.  (Photo: Long Life Center in Lungi)

Speaking to journalists in their edifice in Portee, the Chief Executive Officer and Founder of the Long Life Center for Wellness & Prevention, Mr. Musa Sillah said he got the initiative while he was working as a volunteer during the Ebola virus outbreak in Sierra Leone. He said he was sent by the Americans as a mental health nurse to help during the 2014 Ebola crisis in Sierra Leone and was working with Partner In Health (PIH) in Port Loko district, there he saw the need for a mental health center to address a lot of mental issues in the country.

Mr. Sillah stated the need for mental health center is very much prudent and in the whole country, there are only 19 mental nurses and vowed to help to train more. He continued that his center is nongovernmental and nonprofit making but it gears towards providing mental health issues, raise awareness and help to educate the public on mental health issues and its prevention. He said the center is almost free of cost for only medicine but free for diagnosis and consultation. He disclosed that majority of people with mental issues are in their respective home while few are in mental homes. He said Long Life Center for Wellness & Prevention will be the first mental health center to use Tel-health with doctors in America diagnosing patient in Sierra Leone via video with trained mental health nurse to interpret.

Mr. Musa Sillah further disclosed that Long Life Center for Wellness & Prevention has also established and outpatient unit constructed in Lungi to help with mental issues and will soon establish other branches in all districts across the country. He also informed press men that the center will also introduce a call free center that will be operated in 24-hrs with Africell mobile company. He said the call center will help people to call and explain their problems.

Mr. George Bindi who chaired the ceremony said the issue of mental health is a serious concern in the country, adding that the knowledge based on mental issue is limited and the more reason for the establishment of the center to help address it. He said the issue of mental health is about stigma and with the center in Portee, people no longer need to go to the Kissy mental home and can simply come to Portee. He maintained that the center will work with all mental health nurses across the country.

The Matron, Sierra Leone Psychiatric Hospital (Kissy Mental Hospital), Mr. Annien K. Braimah said there is no health without mental health and appreciate the initiative for the establishment of Long Life Center. He noted that people with mental health complications are always ashamed to visit to visit their center because of stigma. He assured the leadership of Long Life Center for Wellness & Prevention to work with them at anytime.

The Councilor for Ward 409, Madam Fatmata Cecilia Williams thanked the CEO for the initiative to open the center in her Ward, noting that the community’s priorities are health and education and the community is willing to complement their work.

Similar commitment where also made by the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, SLANGO and Mental Health Coalition.

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