The Liberia Association of Psychosocial Services (LAPS) formulated its COVID 19 response plan—a month before the first case of COVID 19 was confirmed in the country. This was due to the lessons learned during the past experience with the Ebola outbreak. The overall goal of the plan has been to continue offering uninterrupted services to its beneficiaries by adapting to every contextual or situational change that may be experienced in the national response effort to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic in the country. Due to the nature of the COVID 19 virus as well as, the various measures/restrictions that the government has instituted in response to the COVID 19 pandemic in our country, LAPS staffs have been and, are continuously receiving technical support in the form of series of COVID 19 related training from the Ministry of Gender Children and Social Protection; training on tele-counseling and other topics from its expatriate Psychotherapist Trainer based in Uganda through the auspices of the Partners in Trauma Healing Project funded by USAID through the Center For Victims of Torture(CVT) Minneapolis. The senior staffs have also been receiving some technical support on Psychological First Aid (PFA) and self-care through Dignity Danish Institute Against Torture.

LAPS is now offering services using less conventional approaches of mental health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) including, the use of videos, phone calls, text messaging, social media, radio messaging, talk shows and other available platforms.  Besides, other services are offered through mobile outreaches and visitation to people’s homes in ways that minimizes risk of infection but are considered continued necessary support to clientele including, COVID 19 affected persons.

Besides, LAPS currently serves as Chair of the COVID 19 message committee for the mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) pillar in Liberia headed by the Ministry of Gender Children and social protection (MGCSP). Members of the committee include: UNICEF Liberia child protection; deputy minister for Social welfare (MGCSP), National Union of Disabilities (NUOD), Mental Health service users etc.

In collaboration with MHPSS actors of Liberia and the Community Health Services Division (CHSD) of the Ministry of Health, the committee regularly draft and share MHPSS COVID 19 related messages with members of the MHPSS pillar and upon finalization, forward them to CHSD for approval and subsequent translation into local languages, radio jingles etc and then, utilized for public consumption using various media (print, electronic and or social media).  



Thursday, 6th May 2021