H17. Trauma counselling in Liberia

Background & findings

It is generally agreed that many are living with mental illness in Liberia. Still Liberia suffers from limited medical services for people with mental health disorders.

Vision & mission

HR&S has been working with IDEFOCS since 2013 targeting the re-integration of former child soldiers. We run ghetto interventions together which provides mental and physical support. We are also managing a ghetto survey to know how the ghetto dwellers would like change their lives. As a result of the survey have we bought farm land and build a reintegration house in Little Bassa.

We are now, since 2019 launching a trauma counselling programme to complement our previous activities. Our vision is that mental care shall be supported as much as medical care in Liberia, and that any related stigma is overcome.  We are reaching out to potential partners.


An HR&S team of trauma counselling professionals in Sweden will educate and coach a group of local mental health care providers in Liberia. The education will be on-line and addressing basic mental care. The training will combine Swedish expertise and practice with Liberian cultural traditions and values. The team of trauma counselling professionals has therefore been strengthened by Swedish citizens with Liberian origin.  Moreover, will we benefit from findings generating in the “bench treatment programme” that has shown to be successful in Zimbabwe and from MSF experiences network in Liberia.

The HR&S team shall then be supervising and supporting the trained local team of mental health care provides when offering basic care at our Support centres in Painsville and Buchanan. We will target former child soldiers, women associated with fighting forces and others suffering from the cruelties of the past war. We will have “counselling benches” where people can sit down and discuss, combined with visits in the ghettos.

Our local mental health care providers in Liberia shall know how to interact with our clients, with the families and the communities while building awareness about mental health. We shall help our clients to understand mental health conditions and encourage adherence to treatment.

unsplash-person in sun

Related initiatives


The friendship bench improves depression and PTSD provided by lay health workers in communities.  https://www.friendshipbenchzimbabwe.org
The friendship bench foundation also offers a training and collaboration scheme if one thinks it could be a good approach to implement. https://www.friendshipbenchzimbabwe.org/collaboration


Dr Harris.



  1. One counsellor treats four clients per day, one hour for each client, four days a week. One day a week the counsellor meets with her/his supervisor.
  2. Each supervisor has four counsellors. One supervisor has a one-day session with each counsellor per week.
  3. The counsellors and supervisors benefit from monthly on-line coaching from the support team in Sweden.
  4. Each client takes eight sessions. One session per week. Thereafter a decision is made whether eight more sessions would be beneficial. Thus each client will remain in the programme two months or four months.

Thus four counsellors and one supervisor manages 16 times 4 clients per week (62). Per two months or four. We thus assume that we can treat 150 clients per year with this team of five persons. The counsellors and supervisor are members of our local team and netowk in Liberia. We may appoint coaching team members in Sweden for two months minimum and preferably longer.

Long term- ambition

Our long-term our ambition is to set up a trauma counselling training school, that provides two years of education.

Social enterpise model

HR&S claims that social enterprising is the only method to ensure sustainability. The start-up is done through international coaching and with start-up loan and the long-term management is through local social enterprising.

  • We assume that we can treat 150 clients per year with a team of five persons (four counsellors and one supervisor).

 Start-up  capital

  • We seek start-up loans through crowd-funding.


  • The clients pay for the services.
  • We seek support from the Liberian authoroties.