Mental Health

Mental disorders are a leading cause of long-term disability, distress and suffering. Historically Sierra Leone has had only one trained psychiatrist but within the last year two younger doctors have completed their psychiatry training and are working within the country. There is only one mental health hospital for a population of over six million, the mental health treatment gap in Sierra Leone exceeds 98%. This means that less than 2% of those who need mental health care are able to get it.

Connaught Hospital’s Mental Health Nurse works with KSLP’s Psychiatrist to assess patients with mental health needs. These images were taken on the Momenta Project Sierra Leone 2015 workshop in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Photo © Katherine Wise/Momenta Workshops 2015.

The King’s Sierra Leone Partnership (KSLP) is committed to supporting the Ministry of Health & Sanitation (MOHS) in its ambition to provide comprehensive, integrated and responsive mental health, psychosocial support and social care services in hospital and community-based settings.

Working collaboratively with local partners, the KSLP Mental Health team is strengthening the training and supervision of health workers for integrated mental health at the district level.

Our mental health team provide clinical supervision and support for service development for Mental Health nurses at Connaught Hospital, Jui Hospital and 34 Military Hospital. In collaboration with Building Back Better (BBB), the KSLP Mental Health team is also providing nationwide clinical supervision for Mental Health nurses at all district Mental Health units. In collaboration with The College of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences we are supporting psychiatry teaching of undergraduate medical students.

As a member of the Ministry of Health & Sanitation Mental Health Steering Committee, KSLP is providing technical advice to revise the Mental Health Policy and Strategic Plan, supporting the revision of the mental health legislation and strengthening the mental health information systems.

Our current in-country project coordinator is Dr Dawn Harris, working alongside Hege Lind, Mental Health Specialist Nurse. They are supported by the Mental Health Technical Advisory Group, a UK based group of clinicians and non-clinicians passionate about global Mental Health, and co-led by Dr Peter Hughes (Consultant Psychiatrist), Dr Stania Kamara (Psychiatry Trainee Doctor), Dr Anna Walder, and Dr Helen Thomson.

Previous in-country Mental Health team members have been: Dr Anna Walder, Ms Antoinet Kabbedijk, Ms Katy Lowe, and Dr Stania Kamara.