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Training Years: 2016-2017

Training Site: Carter Center – Liberia Mental Health Office

Country: Liberia

Mentor: Janice Cooper, PhD; David Wohl, MD

Title: Resilience in the Face of Tragedy: Examining Psychosocial Health and Resiliency in Individuals and Communities Recovering from Ebola in Liberia

Project Objectives: The project focuses on assessing the mental health and psychosocial (MHPSS) impact of the Ebola virus disease (EVD), while elucidating existing strengths among EVD-affected communities in Liberia. The central hypothesis is that attending to both MHPSS problems and resilience, while working to deconstruct stigma will lead to improved accessibility, acceptability, and efficacy of culturally centered mental health care in the aftermath of large-scale emergencies, particularly in LMIC’s

Hypothesis: Collected data will reveal differences in MHPSS functioning among 3 target groups (i.e., EVD survivors, relatives, and other community members).

Aim 1: To assess the prevalence of MHPSS problems within a sample of EVD survivors, contacts (i.e., individuals who were exposed to but did not contract EVD), first-degree relatives of survivors, and other community members. Endorsement of symptoms of PTSD, depression, and substance use will be examined.

Hypothesis: Quantitative and qualitative data will support the need for tailored interventions targeted at reducing stigma for EVD survivors, relatives, and affected communities.

Aim 2: To examine participants’ perceptions surrounding EVD and mental health related stigma.

Aim 3: To explore existing strengths, resources, and resiliency across the 3 groups. Qualitative methods will be used to gather this data, given the dearth of relevant quantitative measures that have been normed for use in a Liberian context.

NIH Support:  Fogarty fellowship postdoctoral training award

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