Category Archives: Uncategorized

Donation Starts Now to Support the #Feeding Campaign of the #Mentallyill Patients

The following message comes on behalf of Mental Health Coalition – Sierra Leone and their project, Reaching Out to Those Affected by Mental Illness:

Dear Sir/Madam,

Today marks the start of giving and its #GivingTuesday. In line with that, the Mental Health Coalition – Sierra Leone and in collaboration with the Social Work Sierra Leone are reaching out to the #mentallyill patients, in the length and breadth of #Freetown, #Sierra Leone, with a heart of #love, #empathy and to treat them with dignity and respect.

Please Donate here!

This will create an atmosphere of trust and confidence, after long time of neglect, among the patients, their parents/guidance, the social workers and the mental health nurses, which will also lead to improved care and wellness and enables them to be reintegrated into Society and their communities for better productivity & increase wealth.

Remember the #WHO quotes state that: There is no #health without Mental Health and health (which include mental health), is #HumanRight.

Thanks for your #support.

Walter Carew,

MH Coalition Chairman

Please support the campaign to feed the mentally ill starting on 27th November, 2018.


The following message comes on behalf of Mental Health Coalition – Sierra Leone and their project, Reaching Out to Those Affected by Mental Illness:

Dear Sir/Madam,

Today marks the start of giving and it’s #GivingTuesday. In line with that, the Mental Health Coalition – Sierra Leone and in collaboration with the Social Work Sierra Leone are reaching out to the #mentallyill patients, in the length and breadth of #Freetown, #Sierra Leone, with a heart of #love, #empathy and to treat them with dignity and respect.

Please Donate here!

This will create an atmosphere of trust and confidence, after long time of neglect, among the patients, their parents/guidance, the social workers and the mental health nurses, which will also lead to improved care and wellness and enables them to be reintegrated into Society and their communities for better productivity & increased wealth.

Remember the #WHO quotes state that: There is no health without Mental Health and health (which include mental health), is a Human Right.

Thanks in advance for your #support.

Keeping Pace with Mental Health Service Delivery at the District Mental Health Units

Continuous Clinical Professional Development (CCPD) is a an initiative introduced by the Enabling Access to Mental Health Program in Sierra Leone – A EU funded project. CCPD was designed to provide ongoing capacity enhancement of service providers (mainly the District Mental Health Nurses) in a bid to increase evidence based service delivery at their respective districts.

The Building Back Project and other partners saw the effectiveness of such skill development for the District Mental Health Nurses and have maintained the practice over the years.

A two prong approach is being employed in conducting Continuous Clinical Professional Development for the Mental Health Nurses.

1. Regular Support Visits at the districts of operation

Evidence based care, networking skills, data collection and a stronger relationship with the district pharmacists was increased as a result of the supervision conducted by volunteers and collaborating partners (KSLP & WHO). A systematic monitoring process of the work of the MH Nurses, case management (Patient assessment) and lessons learnt from  CCPD workshop are been reinforced during these visits.

2. Quarterly Meetings (CCPD)

The relevance of CCPD cannot be overemphasized as over the years it has:
– Enhanced knowledge, attitude and practice for effective service delivery.
– Empowered the mental health nurses to keep up with best practices and being up to date with changing trends (more so with community mental health service provision).
– Provided a forum where difficult cases are discussed – hence helping colleague nurses learning new approaches to care.

During the BBB Project implementation period, Regular District Support visits and CCPD were held in collaboration with Kings Sierra Leone Partnership (KSLP) and an average of 18 mental health nurses had been attending – this does not include other service providers like the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Nurses and Community Health Officers.

Continuous Clinical Professional Development (CCPD) over the years have attracted professionals in the field of Mental Health whose technical skills have helped the mental health nurses acquire new skills in doing their work. Other major highlights of the CCPD included though not limited to:

  • Experience sharing on case management to ensure appropriate care for Clients.
  • Facilitate networking opportunities between themselves, senior MoHS management, WHO MHPSS Focal Person, local Psychiatrist, Supervisors from BBB and KSLP.
  • Reinforcing skills on basic MH principles of assessment, medication and subsequent care of patients.

Communication and Relationships Building in Crisis Situations


  • Is a two-way process of reaching mutual understanding, in which participants do not only exchange (encode-decode) information, news, ideas and feelings but also create and share meanings
  • In general, communication is a means of connecting people or places
  • As an information age, messages are sent, received and processed numbers of messages every day


Effective Communication:

  • Is more than just exchanging information; it’s about understanding the emotion behind the information
  • We are able to express ourselves, verbally and non-verbally, in ways that are appropriate to our cultures and our situations.
  • This means being able to express opinions and desires, but also needs and fears.
  • It means being able to ask for advice and help in a time of need


Effective Communication can:

  • Improve relationships at home, work, and in social situations as it deepens your connections to others
  • Improve teamwork, decision-making and problem-solving
  • Enable you to communicate even negative  or difficult messages without creating conflict destroying trust
  • Combine a set of skills including non-verbal communication, attentive listening, the ability to manage stress in the moment, and the capacity to recognize and understand your own emotions  and those of the person you are communicating with
  • As it is a learned skill, it is more effective when it is spontaneous rather than formulated. For example, a speech that is read does not have the same impact as a speech that is delivered
  • It takes time and effort to develop these skills and become effective communicator
  • The more effort and practice you put in, the more instinctive and spontaneous your communication skills will become.


There are four major effective communication skills. They are:

  1. Listening
  2. Non-verbal communication
  3. Managing stress
  4. Emotional awareness

Listening Skill

It is the most important aspect of effective communication. To become a successful listener, it means you don’t just understand the words or the information being communicated, but also understand how the speaker feels about what they are communicating.

Effective listening can:

  • Make the speaker feel heard and understood. This can help build a stronger, deeper connection between you.
  • Create an environment where everyone feels safe to express ideas, opinions, and feelings, or plan and problem solve in creative ways
  • Save time by helping clarify information, avoid conflicts and misunderstanding
  • Relieve negative emotions.

Quick stress relief for effective communication

When stress strikes, you can’t always temper it by taking time out to mediate or go for a run, especially if you’re in the middle of a meeting with your boss or an argument with your spouse, for example.  By learning to quickly reduce stress in the moment, though, you can safely face any strong emotions you’re experiencing, regulate your feelings, and behave appropriately.  When you know how to maintain a relaxed, energized state of awareness- even when something upsetting happens- you can remain emotionally available and engaged.

Non-verbal communication

When we communicate things that we care about, we do so mainly using nonverbal signals. Wordless communication, or body language, includes facial expressions, body movement and gestures, eye contact, posture, the tone of your voice, and even your muscle tension and breathing. The way you look, listen, move, and react to another person tells them more about how you’re feeling than words alone ever can.

Developing the ability to understand and use nonverbal communication can help you connect with others, express what you really mean, navigate challenging situations, and build better relationships at home and work.

  • You can enhance effective communication by using open body language arms uncrossed, standing with an open stance or sitting on the edge of your seat, and maintaining eye contact with the person you’re talking to.
  • You can also use body language to emphasize or enhance your verbal message- patting a friend on the back while complimenting him on his success, for example, or pounding your fists to underline your message.

Managing Stress

In small groups, stress can help you perform under pressure.  However, when stress becomes constant and overwhelming, it can hamper effective communication by disrupting your capacity to think clearly, creatively, and act appropriately. When you’re stressed, you’re more likely to misread other people, thus sending confusing messages. When you find yourself in that situation:

  • Be willing to compromise. Sometimes, if you can both bend a little, you’ll be able to find a happy middle ground that reduces the stress levels for everyone concerned. If you realize that the other person cares much more about something than you do, compromise may be easier for you and a good investment in the future of the relationship.
  • Agree to disagree, if necessary, and take time away from the situation so everyone can calm down. Take a quick break and move away from the situation. Go for a stroll outside if possible, or spend a few minutes meditating. Physical movement or finding a quiet place to regain your balance can quickly reduce stress.

Emotional Awareness

  • Emotions play an important role in the way we communicate at home and work.
  • It’s the way you feel, more than the way you think, that motivates you to communicate or to make decisions.
  • The way you react to emotions, such as nonverbal cues affects both how you understand other people and how they understand you.

If you are out of touch with your feelings, and don’t understand how you feel or why you feel that way, you’ll have a hard time communicating your feelings and needs to others.

Emotional awareness provides you the tools needed for understanding both yourself and other people, and the real messages they are communicating to you. Although knowing your own feelings may seem simple, many people ignore or try to sedate strong emotions like anger, sadness, and fear. But your ability to communicate depends on being connected to these feelings. If you’re afraid of strong emotions or if you insists on communicating only on a rational level, it will impair your ability to fully understand others, creatively problem solve, resolve conflicts, or build an affectionate connection with someone.

Interpersonal Relationship

Interpersonal relationships are those relationships you have with persons that have the same interests and ideals as you have.  It is very important for care workers/caregivers to have these skills so that their clients do not feel like a burden

A person with good interpersonal skills is one who:

  • get along with others in the work place
  • is polite in talking with other people
  • is pleasant
  • work in a team
  • a good listener and
  • has a pleasant speaking intonation


  • Interpersonal Skills refer to your emotional intelligence of solving problems, managing conflict with people in work place or community as well as your ability to build effective relationship
  • It is anything working with other people
  • Help us to relate in positive ways with the people we interact with. This may mean being able to make and keep friendly relationship, which can be of great importance to our mental and social well-being.
  • It may also mean keeping good relations with family members which are important sources of social supports
  • It may also mean being able to end relationship constructive


No, since they are not born with the understanding that there are other people. However, people are born with the capacity to learn interpersonal skills through observation and emulation which they must do when they are quite young. Children growing without other people around them, cannot be born with this because they are too old.


When two individuals feel comfortable in each other’s company and decide to be with each other, they enter into a relationship.

Individuals who are compatible with each other enter into an interpersonal relationship. People must get well for a strong and healthy/positive relationship (positive/healthy)


Friendship is an unconditional interpersonal relationship where individuals enter into any of their own sweet will and choice.

Friendship is a relationship where there are no formalities and individuals enjoy each other’s presence.  Friendship can be between:

  • Man and a woman
  • Man and man
  • Woman and woman

Must have in friendship:

  • Transparency is the most essential factor for a stable friendship. Do not hide things from your friends. Be honest to them.
  • Guide them whenever required. Never give them any wrong suggestion or advice.
  • Feelings like ego, jealousy, hatred, anger do not exist in friendship.
  • The entire relationship of friendship revolves around trust and give and take. No relationship can be one sided and same with friendship. Try to do as much as you can for your friends.


An interpersonal relationship characterized by passion, intimacy, trust and respect is called love.

Individuals in a romantic relationship are deeply attached to each other and share a special bond.

Must have in a Romantic Relationship:

  • Two partners must trust each other in this relationship.
  • A sense of respect and mutual admiration is essential

Partners must reciprocate each other’s feeling for the charm to stay in the relationship for a longer period of time.

Case – 1

Marriage happens when two individuals in love decide to take their relationship to the next level.

Marriage is a kind of formalized relationship where two individuals after knowing each other well decide to enter the wedlock and stay together life- long through thick and thin.


A relationship between two individuals without any feelings or sexual desire for each other is called a platonic relationship.

In such a relationship might end in romantic relationship with both the partners developing mutual love and falling for each other.


Individuals related by blood or marriage are said to form a family.


Individuals working together for the same organization are said to share a professional relationship.

Individuals sharing a professional relationship are called colleagues.  Colleagues may or may not like each other.


There are different characteristics of interpersonal relationships. These characteristics range from brief to long lasting.  They are based on love, friendship, family, kinship, work related, marriage, mutual agreements, neighbourhoods, places of worship and social groups.


Interpersonal relationship helps to maintain your ability to- successfully communicate, interact and socialise in public.  If you- always live alone, you’d get more and more…… (MORE)

  • Answered
  • In Relationships

Assertiveness – Showing Empathy in Crisis Situations


  • Is the effective expression of oneself and at the same time standing up for your view point whilst you also respect the rights and beliefs of others
  • It is a way of behaving forcefully without ignoring or trampling  on the rights of other people
  • It is a means that you can confidently but peacefully demonstrate your right or point of view
  • The opposite of assertiveness is passiveness  


One is assertive for the following key points:

1. Assertive as an individual:

  1. He/she possesses self-confident
  2. Builds confidence and stands for his/her opinion/decision

2. Assertive in a group:

  1. You put your points across to the others in a confident and non-aggressive manner
  2. You recognize other people’s point of view
  3. Respecting the other group’s ideas and opinions
  4. Being tolerance of the differences between your group and the other group
  5. Putting your points across convincingly

3. Assertive on a one-to-one relationship

  1. Being firm but polite
  2. You acknowledge and are confident in what you stand for

Benefits of Assertiveness

  • It helps to boost one’s self-esteem (explain the meaning of self-esteem)
  • You earn respect for others
  • It helps to control stress  and anger and improve coping skills especially with too many responsibilities because you have a hard time saying no
  • It is a core communication skills
  • It gives the best chance of successfully delivering your message
  • You stand up for your right
  • You respect yourself and others
  • You are confident but not pushy

Outcomes of Assertiveness:

  1. It is self-fulfilling
  2. It makes you escape from trouble
  3. It prevents teenage and unwanted pregnancies
  4. Its prevents infections Ebola disease


1. Assertive Person:

  1. States his/her opinions, while still being respectful to others
  2. Speaks openly
  3. Uses the conversational tone
  4. Makes good eye contact
  5. Shows expressions that match the message
  6. Relaxes and adopts an open posture and expressions
  7. Participates in groups
  8. Speaks to the point
  9. Values self-equal to others
  10. Tries to hurt no one including him/herself
  11. Usually reaches goals without alienating others
  12. I’m okay, you are okay

2. Passive Person:

  1. Doesn’t state their opinions at all
  2. Speaks softly
  3. Avoids looking at people
  4. Shows little or no expression
  5. Moves and withdraws sluggishly
  6. Isolates self from groups
  7. Agrees with others, despite feelings
  8. Values self-less than others
  9. In a group but dormant
  10. Hurts self to avoid hurting others
  11. Does not reach goals and may not know goals
  12. You’re okay , I’m not

 3. Aggressive Person:

  1. Attacks or ignore others’ opinions in favour of their own
  2. Interrupts and talks over others
  3. Speaks loudly
  4. Glares and stares at others
  5. Creates fear with expressions
  6. Stands rigidly, crosses arms, invades others’ personal space
  7. Controls groups
  8. Only considers own feelings, and/or demands of others
  9. Values self-more than others
  10. Hurts others to avoid being hurt
  11. Reaches goals but hurts others in the process
  12. I’m okay, you’re not



  • is concern for other people
  • it is the ability to see the world as another person, to share  and understand another person’s feelings, needs, concerns and/or state emotional
  • the ability to put ourselves in someone else’s position
  • The ability to see the world through the eyes of those who are different from us. For example: concerns for orphans/survivors, for health workers in general, for their families who have lost loved ones through Ebola, marginalized children, out of school children, children whose parents are very poor, deprived with low self-esteem, war affected and refugee families, Ebola affected and abandoned children, etc.


  • It is an innate behavioral quality that can be developed
  • It can come naturally to most people
  • It possesses good power of imagination to see the world from the perspective of other people
  • It is a selfless act
  • It enables us to learn more about people
  • It is a desirable skill that is beneficial to ourselves, others and society
  • Phrases or statements such as: being in your shoes and soul mates are all examples of empathy
  • It is compared to spiritual or religious state of connection with other person or group of people
  • It is the most advanced of all communication skills

Being empathetic has two components:

  1. Effective communication (understanding is desired in any communication process)
  2. Strong imagination (good powers to empathize with others) 


  • The different is that with sympathy, you feel pity or sorry for another person
  • While with empathy, you feel with others
  • When you empathize, you enjoy better relationship with others and greater being through life.

Life Skills

What is Life Skills?

The concept is not easy to define. Life Skills are terms that do not have one definition. However, some writers have defined Life Skills as:

  1. “The skills needed by an individual to operate effectively in society in an active and constructive way”
  2. “Life Skills are personal and social skills required for people to function confidently and competently with themselves, other people, and the wider community”.
  3. “Life Skills are abilities for adaptive and positive behavior that enable individuals to deal effectively with the demands of everyday life”.

What does life skills in crisis situation important?

It helps individuals to:

  • Know their strengths and limitations
  • Pursue creative and critical  thinking
  • become empathetic and coexist amicably with others
  • be assertive and have the skills to communicate their thoughts and ideas effectively
  • identify, cope and find solutions to difficult or challenging situations – even in crisis situations

Importance of Life Skills:

Life Skills can help young people to:

  • make positive healthy choices and avoid risky behavior even at moments of disasters/crisis events
  • make informed choices
  • resist peer pressure
  • form and develop mutual beneficial relationship

Benefits Associated with Life Skills Education include:

  • Acquisition of knowledge
  • Positive changes in behavior and attitude
  • Enhancement of STIs including HIV  prevention and  other related reproductive health issues
  • Enhancement of the prevention of mental health and psychosocial problems during crisis situations like the Freetown mudslide and flooding experience.

Types of Life Skills

Basic life skills includes, though not limited to the following:

  • Decision-making
  • problem solving
  • Assertiveness
  • Empathy (concern for others)
  • Creative thinking
  • Resisting peer pressure
  • Effective communication
  • Negotiating friendship
  • Interpersonal relationship
  • Goal setting
  • Coping with stress and emotions

What other Skills are confused with Life Skills

In most situations people get confused in understanding life skills from other skills like livelihood skills. It is good to be able to know the difference between these two skills.

Livelihood Skills

These are skills which prepare young people to obtain and keep satisfying job opportunities which include:

  1. Developing Curriculum Vitae skills
  2. Job-searching skills
  3. Interviewing skills
  4. Effective communication skills
  5. Entrepreneurial skills
  6. Marketable skills to enhance functionalism

Life Stills for Psycho social competence

Psycho social competence is a person’s ability to deal effectively with the demands and challenges of everyday life. It is the person’s ability to maintain a state of mental well being and to demonstrate this in adaptive and positive behavior while interacting with others, his/her culture and environment.

Psycho social competence has an important role to play in the promotion of health in its broadest sense; in terms of physical, mental and social well-being.  In particular, where health problems are related to behavior, and where the behavior is related to an inability to deal effectively with stresses and pressures in life, the enhancement of psycho social competence could make an important contribution.  This is especially important for health promotion at a time when behavior is more and more implicated as the source of health and social problems due to crisis events.

The most direct interventions for the promotion of psycho social competence are those which enhance the person’s coping resources, and personal and social competencies.  In school-based programs for children and adolescents, this can be done by the teaching of life skills in a supportive learning environment.

How life skills are related to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or HIV prevention as a result of crisis events?

Life skills for PTSD prevention are the knowledge and skills that are transmitted to people that need to avoid potential mental health and psycho social problems and adhere to information giving to them by social, medical, mental health practitioners. If this information is put into practice, there is the likely of reducing stress and traumatic level leading to the prevention of mental health and psycho social (MHPS) problems.

Also, Life skills for prevention are the knowledge and skills needed to avoid HIV infection and maintain healthy life style. Life skills reduce the likelihood of HIV and other Sexually Transmission Infections (STIs), thus promoting people’s self-worth and identity.

In addition, Life skills provide the education to internet with others and strengthen their problem solving skills in adhering to health messages in relation crisis events.

Furthermore, we are frightened and confused because we are unsure what the future holds for us after a crisis situation.

A major example of Life Skills (Decision Making)

Decision-making is defined as:

  1. deciding about something especially for example, among a group of people, more so, the group of young people
  2. Selection of a course of action from among two or more possible alternatives in order to arrive at a solution for a problem

Why decision–making is difficult?

There are good reasons why it is difficult to make decision especially with/for adolescents to make up their mind. Adolescence are children between the ages of 10- 19. With adolescence, there is agony of decision-making because:

  1. There are conflicting relationship between making choices and preserving freedom as one cannot do the first (make decision) without reducing the second (preserving freedom),
  2. When you choose one course of action, a host of alternative courses become closed up.
  3. For a young person of an age when more freedom to grow is more important, the human reality is very hard to accept
  4. All decisions reduce more freedom than they create.

Good Decision-Making:

Good decision is one of the most powerful skills that children need to learn as they progress through childhood into adulthood. But it is not a skill that is developed really on its own as children grow up.

Parents and caregivers should teach children why popular culture and technology (social media) can cause them to make poor decision and guide them in learning how to make good decision.