At the request of the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse of the World Health Organization, we have prepared a brief systematic review of the English and French-language literature on mental health in Haiti. This review focuses on relevant beliefs, help-seeking behavior, service utilization and both formal and informal resources for mental health. Our hope is that this report can provide some useful background for those unfamiliar with the local situation who hope to contribute to improving mental health services in the country.
This work was conducted by a team assembled specifically for this task through a network of clinicians, students and colleagues coordinated by the Cultural Consultation Service of the Jewish General Hospital. We would like to thank the many people who generously contributed their time and expertise: Kay Berckmans, Antonella Clerici and Teodora Constantinescu who helped locate literature; Pascale C. Annoual, Annie Jaimes, Aidan Jeffery, Dr. Myrna Lashley, Pierre Minn, Luisa Molino, and Andrena Pierre who reviewed the literature and wrote drafts of the text; Drs. Carlo Sterlin, Frantz Raphaël, Cécile Rousseau, Yves Lecomte and Danielle Groleau who also reviewed and refined the text; and Drs. Eugene Raikhel, Rob Whitley and Laurence Kirmayer who edited the drafts. Producing this report in a short period has required a communal effort and all of the contributors worked intensively in the hope of making a contribution to the ongoing relief efforts and the long-term challenge of strengthening mental health services in Haiti.
Laurence J. Kirmayer, MD Montréal, February 2, 2010