Community Mental Health Journal

, Volume 49, Issue 5, pp 615–624

Who Cares for Former Child Soldiers? Mental Health Systems of Care in Sierra Leone

  • Suzan J. Song
  • Helene van den Brink
  • Joop de Jong
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10597-013-9597-3

Cite this article as:
J. Song, S., van den Brink, H. & de Jong, J. Community Ment Health J (2013) 49: 615. doi:10.1007/s10597-013-9597-3


While numerous studies on former child soldiers (FCS) have shown mental health needs, adequate services are a challenge. This study aimed to identify priorities, barriers and facilitators of mental health care for Sierra Leonean FCS. Thematic analysis was done on 24 qualitative interviews with participants from diverse sectors. Priorities of mental distress, substance abuse, and gender-based violence were common among FCS clients. Barriers were governmental support and communication with other providers. Perceived facilitators of care were primary- and secondary-level interventions. A public mental health model would feasibly build upon local, culturally embraced interventions, targeting local priorities and reducing barriers to care.


Mental healthChild soldiersWarSystems of carePsychosocial

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Suzan J. Song
    • 1
  • Helene van den Brink
    • 2
  • Joop de Jong
    • 3
  1. 1.Asian Americans for Community Involvement/Center for Survivors of TortureSan JoseUSA
  2. 2.City of RestFreetownSierra Leone
  3. 3.Department of Cultural and International PsychiatryVU University Medical Center, AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands