Mental health is one of the big issues in Africa. There are millions of people living in trauma: Aids orphans, war victims, battered women and abused children, let alone the clinically mentally ill. Post war Liberia was reckoned to have 40% of the population suffering trauma . Lyn Westman has worked accross West Africa to offer training , help and teaching to people on how to manage mental health. She is a trained Psychologist and psychiatric nurse ( Liberia only has one Psychologist ) and pastor. Lyn’s strategy has been to work with the churches to train them to look after people, and to teach social workers ( in Togo), the police, prison wardens and the army. Over 400 hundred officials have receive this effective knowledge, and surely attitudes to the mentally ill are changing too.
The Togo government tasked Lyn and her team of 3 to care for 50 children directly, and work closely with social services, police and army to build a stronger system. Now Lyn is linking all the West African churches and officials and raising awareness and treatment for the ill. This is the beginning of better mental healthcare system in W Africa and its all down to Lyn and her work.
She teaches children about avoiding abuse, self esteem , boundaries, emotions, what is right and wrong and positivity. The adults too benefit from this, and a 4 stage analysis of care : Awareness , personal care, informal care and primary care. Everyone is empowered to be aware of the issues and the whole social structure is being raised.