Monrovia - It’s been 13 years since the Liberian civil war ended but the country is still grappling with psychosocial issues and the need for de-traumatization of many of the its citizens, especially for the youth, cannot be over emphasized.
Dr. Daniel E. Cassell, a Liberian Psychologist based in the United States of America, thinks the country must take the issue of rehabilitation and mental health seriously, if citizens are to adopt the right attitude that would meaningfully contribute to the development of society and the improvement of their lives.
Speaking to FrontPageAfrica in an exclusive interview, Dr. Cassell warned that Liberians cannot sit and pretend as if there is no cause to invest in psychosocial counseling and mental health, taking into consideration the extensive war that was fought in Liberia.
“When it comes to the aftermath of war that has been very extensive, it is something that shouldn’t be ignored. So we cannot sit back and pretend that the trauma from the war that has plagued Liberia over a decade has not had effect on those that were youth at the time who are young adults now.
"I strongly believe that a lot of them have been not only traumatized but have been impacted very negatively as a result of exposure to the trauma as well as engagement, especially those that have been victims and perpetrators,” Dr. Cassell asserted.
Dr. Cassell runs Kweyan Professional Health Services – private for-profit substance abuse and mental health counseling agency in New Jersey, United States of America.
The experienced medical expert, who considers himself as an expert in children trauma and how it transcends to adulthood, said there are so many research evidence that talk about the debilitating effect trauma and the Liberian scenario could lead to so many unhealthy outcomes if it is left untreated.
“A person may not know how to treat their exposure to trauma in a way that is considered healthy; so whichever way they may have been trained to deal with that is how they’re going to deal with it,” he said."
“So the chances are there will come a time where it will reach to a toxic level within the body and within the mind that they cannot contain it anymore and then those are instances that you see some people behave in a way that is considered delusional.”
Dr. Cassell told FrontPageAfrica he is looking forward to identifying Liberians with similar vision and expertise to work together in Liberia in establishing a clinic that would deal with mental health issues.
According to him, 2017 will give birth to a new dynamics of dealing with trauma as the establishment of a clinic to deal with such issues will begin to roll out.
He’s confident and is looking forward to contributing similar line of services he provides in the United States.
Dr. Cassell noted that a good number of Liberians in that United States want to come back to contribute to the development of their country but the hitches had been whether the Liberian society is willing to embrace them upon their return.
“Some people want to come back and expect government to employ them and you have others like myself who want to come back somehow to establish employment capacity to contribute to decrease in the level of unemployment and help with the Poverty Reduction Strategy.
But there have been times when some people have raised concerns about the security and safety issue, about health care. Some people feel that the healthcare is not up to standard; in case they come back and something happens how are they going to get treated?
“You will find a lot of professionals who have been in the States and other Western countries who really want to come home to make contribution – they have to feel welcome and they have to feel as though they would be extended the opportunity and won’t experience so many stumbling blocks like a foreigner; because if coming back you will be treated like a foreigner in your own country – when that happens we will prefer to be treated like a foreigner that way in the States than in our own country,” he explained.
Creating Employment Opportunities
Dr. Cassell disclosed that besides providing mental health services to Liberians, he also looks forward to carrying out some investment in Liberia, especially in infrastructure and other businesses that would create employment opportunities for Liberians.
“As we can see unemployment rate in the country is very high and there are other areas in addition to establishing out-patient clinics within that country that I am looking into, especially infrastructure that would contribute to the workforce,” he asserted.
About Dr. Daniel Casselll, M.P.H., Ph.D.
Dr. Casselll attended undergraduate school at Temple University in Pennsylvania, receiving a B.A. in Kinesiology and a minor in Psychology. He received his M.P.H. from A.T. Still University in Missouri, MA and Ph.D. in Health Psychology/Behavioral Medicine from Northcentral University in Prescott, Arizona.
Dr. Casselll is a licensed professional counselor (LPC) in Pennsylvania and a licensed clinical drug and alcohol counselor (LCADC) in New Jersey.
He also holds several advance national and international certificates in addiction, co-occurring disorder, forensic traumatology, clinical hypnotherapy, and more.
He has over 15 years of professional experiences working with children, adolescents, and adults in the mental health and addiction fields.
Prior to this, Dr. Casselll worked as a behavioral specialist consultant in Philadelphia and Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
He also worked as a national certified trainer at several gyms in Pennsylvania, including LA Fitness, Ballys, and at the US Naval Depot in Northeast Philadelphia.
About Kwenyan Professional Health Services, LLC
As client-centered professional therapy agency, Kweyan primary goal is to assist clients identify their inner strengths and begin living a life that is worth rejoicing. While a person can feel better after a good talk with relative or friend, for moderate or severe emotional distress, this relief is only temporary.
The professional therapists in our practice are trained to listen and interact in a way that helps clients understand the very root of their emotional concerns and resolve the challenges in their lives.
By applying a host of therapy skills and interventions, Kweyan offers clients an opportunity to face their long-standing challenges or maladaptive behavior patterns constructively and confidently; leading you to experience a fulfilling and meaningful life.