Assessment of the needs of vulnerable youth populations in post-conflict Liberia
Objective: The study examined key informants’ perceptions of the emotional impact of traumatic events, major problems, functional limitations and appropriate treatment settings for children, adolescents, and young adults in post-conflict Liberia.
Method: This research is a based on cross-sectional survey conducted between March 30, 2009 and April 30, 2009 in Liberia with 171 local key Liberian informants. Analysis was conducted using mixed methods. The findings we will report were collected in the qualitative portion of the survey.
Results: We found that while different interventions were preferred for different types of young people, some interventions were mentioned for all youth and by all age and gender groups of key informants. These included
counseling, education, and skills training. Also frequently chosen were housing, community reintegration, recreation, and medical care. In general, key informants reported similar concerns regardless of their ages or genders. Notable exceptions to this were in interventions for youth who joined fighting forces. Men over 50 were the only ones to recommend apology and reparations. Similarly, in recommendations for criminals and violent youth, a number of men mentioned prison, whereas the women did not.
Conclusion: Our findings suggest that the needs of post-conflict Liberian youth span a variety of domains, including physical, emotional, medical, psychological, and educational. These findings can be used to guide the development of treatment programs for these young people.
Keywords: Post-Conflict Liberia; Mental Health Needs Assessment; Children and Adolescents