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Familiar Ground

After 28 hours of travel we finally arrived in Monrovia late last night. The last leg of the trip was the longest – an unexpected layover in Freetown, Sierra Leone, a frenetic search for bags off the flight followed by a long, dusty drive into Monrovia to reach our hotel. Aside from required handwashing as we disembarked the plane, followed by a temperature check, everything about touching ground for our fourth visit here felt familiar.

I’ll be the first to admit I had some nerves about this return trip. The Ebola outbreak is over, but the horror of it is still fresh on people’s minds. And the exhausted, anxious part of me feared this visit would bring too much sadness. Or worse, that Ebola or something like it could appear during our short time here. Irrational, but so was Ebola. It challenged all the faith I had in the idea that after 14 years of war this country simply wouldn’t be dealt any more bad hands.

Fortunately, our first full day of shooting brought with it some really bright spots amid the sadness.
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In about 48 hours we’ll be back on the ground in Liberia for the first time since February 2014, just weeks before the first cases of Ebola broke out. It’s hard to describe the excitement I feel about getting back to the country. We’ve waited so long to return and finish what we began in 2011 – a time when we could never have imagined that Liberia, just emerging from a 14-year civil war, could ever face another mass disaster. Then Ebola.
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Members of our Advisory Board offer guidance, support and expertise to maximize the impact of the film and help ensure its accuracy. If you are interested in becoming an Advisor, please contact Molly Raskin.

Theresa S. Betancourt

Theresa S. Betancourt, Sc.D., M.A. is Director of the Research Program on Children and Global Adversity and Associate Professor of Child Health and Human Rights at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH).

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Friends of RISE

Below find links to friends of RISE – organizations carrying out inspiring work in the fields of global health and global mental health. If you’d like to join our group of ‘friends,’ please connect with us so we can do our part to help your cause, too.


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A letter from Aaron Debah to producer Molly Raskin

March 28, 2014
Hi Molly,
Greetings to you and your co-workers.

Let me express my words of gratitude to you and all other members of your team the hard work thus far. I was able to keenly watch the link [of The News Hour story] sent me and it was quite amazing. The interesting thing is that, while it was b eing shown live in the US, I did receive some calls just to inform me of what was happening at that time.

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RISE team produces story for the PBS News Hour

After 14 years of civil war, more than 40 percent of Liberians suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. But most have nowhere to turn; the cash-strapped West African nation has only one psychiatrist for 4 million people. Special correspondent Molly Knight Raskin reports on one man’s devotion to healing these national psychological scars.