Sierra Leone is a West African country with a population of just over 7 million. Many Sierra Leoneans lived through the psychologically distressing events of the civil war (1991–2002), the 2014 Ebola outbreak and frequent floods. Traditionally, mental health services have been delivered at the oldest mental health hospital in sub-Saharan Africa, with no services available anywhere else in the country. Mental illness remains highly stigmatised. Recent advances include revision of the Mental Health Policy and Strategic Plan and the strengthening of mental health governance and district services. Many challenges lie ahead, with the crucial next steps including securing a national budget line for mental health, reviewing mental health legislation, systematising training of mental health specialists and prioritising the procurement of psychotropic medications. National and international commitment must be made to reduce the treatment gap and provide quality care for people with mental illness in Sierra Leone.