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Abstract

From 2014 to 2015, Liberia experienced the largest Ebola epidemic in world history. The impact of this disease was not only physical; it created fear, loss, and trauma throughout the country. This article will describe the process of three phases of a community-based psychosocial expressive arts program, which used theory from the fields of expressive arts therapy to build mental health capacity during and after the epidemic. This article will highlight the background of Ebola virus disease and the Ebola virus disease epidemic, provide an overview of current theory and research for expressive arts therapy and the impact of trauma, describe the process of how the program developed and was implemented, the process of partnering with the community, program components, the two pilot programs, and the large-scale community program. We performed a mixed-methods analysis of the large-scale program’s activity data to evaluate the impact. The results highlight a positive response from the participating children and facilitators. The authors discuss the findings from the results, best practices, and limitations. Additionally, the authors discuss implications and considerations for future programming.

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