Atlanta’s Global Effort To Remove Mental Health Stigma

Experienced Liberian medical professionals with an interest in mental health train to become mental health clinicians. Under the program led by the Atlanta-based Carter Center, the training has helped improve the mental health treatment capacity of the country, which currently has three psychiatrists for the entire population. Just a few years ago, Liberia had just one.

Courtesy of The Carter Center

Former first lady Rosalynn Carter has long been known for her work to remove the stigma associated with mental health treatment and care. Much of that work happens through the Atlanta-based Carter Center.

The Carter Center, with the Georgia Global Health Alliance and the Center for Victims of Torture, presented a panel discussion Tuesday: “Atlanta’s Role in the Global Mental Health Revolution.”

Six years ago, WABE’s host of “All Things Considered,” Jim Burress, learned firsthand about that work.

In 2014, he traveled to Liberia to chronicle the mental health infrastructure of that country. It was just a few years after a civil war left survivors traumatized beyond what many of us can conceive.

Liberia had exactly one psychiatrist to help. And then the Ebola crisis broke out, further testing the country’s medical capacity.

Janice Cooper, a native Liberian, is the senior project adviser for the Carter Center’s Liberia Mental Health Initiative. She and Burress spoke about efforts since then to improve mental health access — efforts that are proving successful.

The panel discussion can be viewed online.