Haiti: National Strategic Plan for Mental Health

 

The first workshop on the "National strategic plan for mental health" was held in Port au Prince on 27-28 June, 2011. The event was co-sponsored by the Ministry of Public Health and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO / WHO). The workshop was attended by 47 professionals from the Ministry of Health, psychiatric hospitals, the penitentiary administration office, the national office on disability, universities, national and international NGOs, and from the Haitian Psychology Association (AHPsy). 

In the first part of the workshop participants discussed and made adjustments to the final draft of the national policy. They also discussed in detail the findings and recommendations of the evaluation made using the World Health Organization’s Assessment Instrument for Mental Health Systems (WHO-AIMS).

Attendees had the opportunity to participate in two working groups, on different subjects, which defined the strategic plan’s objectives, challenges, activities to develop, and necessary resources to mobilize.

Various mental health related issues were discussed: mental health care in primary care; community-based services; emergency preparedness and response; response to violence; disabilities; prison system; alcohol and other substances abuse; relationship with priests and  the traditional practices; care in hospital settings; human resources; and training and research.

After being affected by two successive crises in 2010, participants took ownership of the process describing themselves as "artisans of change" for achieving the strategic plan’s implementation as part of the reconstruction of Haiti.

The second workshop for the validation of the final version of the document is expected to take place by late September.