Mental health and psychosocial support programme in Libya: “Building Back Better”

This major shift in direction taken by Libya follows WHO-supported consultations with the Ministry of Health and other stakeholders in 2011, that identified mental health and psychosocial support as a priority area needing urgent action in Libyas post-conflict recovery and rebuilding phase. Post-conflict mental health needs During 2011, hundreds of Libyans with either war-related symptoms, or pre-existing mental disorders aggravated by the emergency, flocked to the few existing mental health facilities seeking treatment from a system that was unable to cope with their urgent needs. Misurata, Libyas third largest city, was the scene of some of the heaviest fighting. The city remained under siege for months and was increasingly targeted by shells and missiles. Misurata was also historically a city with no mental health services at all, not even a psychiatrist. Mental health services in Libya had been extremely inadequate and couldnt meet the urgent needs of people who suffered during and after the conflict, says Dr Baderdin Najjar, Director of Libyas National Center for Disease Control/Ministry of Health.
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The mental health diagnosis and the damage done

That the student may or may not catch up; it’s a pity if they don’t, but not everyone is good at everything. Yet the same variation in social behavior is considered shocking. How dare a five year old act like a three year old? The presumption of the 13 year old, acting like a 16 year old! Not only is our acceptance of behavior limited to a narrow range, but we don’t even think that it is worth helping anyone who isn’t diagnosed with something. In the past, it was certainly worse.
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Mental health program saves patients, planet

Growing Towards Wellness participant Neville Spowart of Wellard, gets his hands dirty in the garden at Mimidi Park Psychiatric Hospital, Rockingham.

Mr ORourke said while patients were saving the planet, they were saving themselves from the darkness of their illness. We empower people to reclaim their identity in the world, he said. GTW manager Cathy Mills said the program connected people to rehabilitation projects and training to help them secure employment. We believe in connecting participants to the community as mental illness is extremely socially isolating and alienating, she said. GTW and its projects use the natural environment and horticultural therapy as part of a recovery journey for participants combined with education, training and employment. Mr ORourke said many of the participants had received permanent work following their involvement in the program and together they were breaking down the stigma surrounding mental illness.
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Private mental health advocacy role

The Network also organises events such as the recent national forum on borderline personality disorder held at Flinders, that drew on the results of the first national surveys of people with the illness and their carers. People with borderline personality disorder and their families still have tricky and challenging experiences in getting support in public and private systems, Associate Professor Lawn said. All the issues of fragmentation and communication problems that exist in the health system in different populations and services can be seen in their stark focus in mental health. The issues are serious, far-reaching and very complex, and compound with other things in peoples lives. Flinders University by Marketing and Communications Many people with mental health problems are reliant on private providers for treatment, and in her new role Associate Professor Sharon Lawn (pictured) will be helping to improve the service and support they receive. She has just been appointed South Australian Coordinator of the Private Mental Health Consumer Carer Network, which operates under the auspices of the Private Mental Health Alliance . Associate Professor Lawn said that while the Network has an advocacy role in developing an agenda at a national level for improvement to services, it also acts as a conduit for information to members and ultimately to the doctors and allied health providers who treat them.
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