Project information

Mental Health Program Liberia

At the invitation of the Liberian Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, The Carter Centre is working to help the country build a sustainable mental health system that can address the severe lack of mental health services in the post-conflict country.

February 2010 - January 2015

Charity information: The Carter Centre United Kingdom

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  • Need


    With only one practicing psychiatrist in Liberia and limited access to treatment, millions suffer needlessly from mental illnesses—a situation compounded by the major psychological impact of the brutal civil war that ended in 2003. There are many simple and cost-effective treatments for even the most serious mental illnesses that could be harnessed with our help to alleviate suffering and improve people’s abilities to contribute to their own communities and lead productive lives.


    Through the Carter Centre’s partnership with the Liberian Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, access to mental health care will be dramatically expanded to reach approximately 70 percent of the population within the next five years. Mental health awareness campaigns will be conducted nationwide to reduce stigma and discrimination against mental illnesses, as well as generate support among communities and family caregivers.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Train a sustainable and credentialed workforce of 450 mental health professionals.


    » Five-month training will be provided to 150 nurses/PAs and 300 community health workers will be organized.

    What success will look like

    Internationally standardized measures will be used to evaluate health improvements among patients treated by Carter Centre-trained specialists.

    Aim 2

    Assist the Liberian government to establish and implement its National Mental Health Policy.


    » The program will help integrate mental health services into the primary health care system.

    What success will look like

    Changes in public attitudes and beliefs about mental illnesses will be analyzed and compared to results of a baseline survey conducted in 2010.

    Aim 3

    Create anti-stigma campaigns, advocacy groups, and educational programs to foster support.


    » We will help establish advocacy groups and educational programs to foster community support.

    What success will look like

    Progress on the implementation of the national strategic plan for mental health will be examined.

  • Impact


    Our program will help the government of Liberia build a sustainable mental health workforce that will in turn support the capacity for mental health services delivery throughout the country.


    Not applicable.


    Full reports will be provided to donors annually, including financial and narrative reports detailing the progress of the program. Following its conclusion, comprehensive results from the monitoring and evaluation activities will be shared with donors to demonstrate the impact of the program.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £4,634,995

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £1,599,426 Personnel, Consultants Salaries, staff; Salaries, consultants.
      £492,870 Communications, Services. Print, video, telecommunications; Services; Purchase of office supplies, equipment.
      £705,322 Travel Staff travel: regional, international.
      £449,369 Meeting Costs Meeting expenses.
      £658,542 Other Expenses Other expenses.
      £729,466 Indirect Costs Indirect Costs.
  • Background


    The population of Liberia is approximately 3.5 million. The average annual income is U.S.$140, and the life expectancy is 40 years. Eighty percent of people live below the poverty line. The 13-year-long civil war ended in 2003 and left a lasting mental health impact on the country:
    •Approximately 50-70% of women and girls were sexually assaulted
    •Among ex-combatants:
    44% have symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder
    40% have symptoms of major depression
    11% have contemplated suicide


    The entire nation will benefit socially and economically from increased access to mental health care services. With treatment, millions of people currently suffering will be better able to live productive lives and contribute to their communities. Other low-resource and post-conflict countries also may benefit from adapting Liberia’s cost-effective approach to building mental health infrastructure to suit their own unique needs and environments.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    The Carter Centre has been waging peace, fighting disease, and building hope worldwide since 1982. Building on two decades of our efforts to foster peace and democracy in Liberia, The Carter Centre launched a five-year initiative in 2010 to help create a sustainable mental health system that will address a broad range of mental health conditions. We are the only NGO working to support the ministry’s long-term goals for improving public health in Liberia.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter

    The Carter Centre’s Mental Health Program is led by former First Lady of the United States and Carter Centre Founder Mrs. Rosalynn Carter.

    Dr. Janice Cooper

    Renowned child trauma expert Dr. Janice Cooper, formerly of Columbia University, will leads the six native Liberian staff members.

    Dr. Thomas Bornemann, Program Director

    Mental Health Program Director, veteran of the World Health Organization and U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

    Shelly Terrazas, Assistant Program Director

    The Assistant Director is Shelly Terrazas, who managed the Ethiopian Public Health Training Initiative until 2010.