Haiti Celebrates World Mental Health Day


The First Lady attends the commemoration

Haiti celebrated World Mental Health Day on October 10, 2011, with an event to raise public awareness and foster an open debate about mental health problems and to encourage investment in prevention, promotion and treatment services. The slogan this year is “The Great Push: Investing in Mental Health."

The celebration was held in the conference hall of the Ministry of Public Health and Population (MSPP) and attended by more than 130 people. First Lady Sofía Martelly presided, accompanied by the Minister of Health and PAHO/WHO representative Peter Graaff. Also present were the Director-General of the Ministry of Health, the Director of Health Promotion, the mental health focal point, PAHO/WHO staff, MSPP professional staff, psychiatric hospital personnel, representatives of national and international organizations, journalists, etc.

The Minister of Health officially accepts the report on Haiti’s mental health system (WHO-AIMS)

During the celebration, Peter Graaff, PAHO/WHO representative in Haiti, officially presented the report of the assessment of Haiti’s mental health system (WHO-AIMS) carried out by PAHO/WHO last year. Later that day, the first lady and the MSPP delegation visited the country’s two psychiatric hospitals: Mars-Kline Hospital and Défilée de Beudet Hospital.

There is evidence that a growing number of people are in need of psychological support since the January 2010 earthquake. Haiti is in the process of developing a National Mental Health Strategy and Plan based on a community model with a primary health care focus.