So you all know that my background is in Mental Health, right? No? “Well, if’ ya don’t know, now you know”. A bit rough, huh: A Haitian woman in the mental health field for the past 20 years… It’s a bit much if you ask me; I just look like I’m only 22! (LOL!)
Ok, jokes aside, people. Let’s talk Mental Health. This is not an easy subject for the Haitian population to discuss, however it is a very serious issue in our community. Some of us don’t even believe there is such a thing as having Mental Health issues. Moun nan jus “FOU” kareman (The person is simply crazy). “Tet la pa la”, “Tet la pati” or “Tet la chaje!”(“The light is on, but nobody’s home”, “Too much going on in the head”).
There are so many misconceptions about mental health in the Haitian community, it’s sad. No, this is not at all a popular subject…
To start, we don’t recognize it as an illness, let alone an illness that can be treated. Mezanmi, if someone is not acting himself/herself and they are having a difficult time coping with reality, it is important for us to come alongside them and support them.
Take anxiety for example (you can see the series of 3 articles on the blog here). Do you know anybody who has stress in life? (If you don’t, then you might be reading this article straight from another planet!) It is a leading mental illness that goes undetected when it gets overwhelming for certain people. Anxiety can turn into something quite ugly if not addressed on time. I have a little info on this right here for it.
We tend to shun people with mental issues. We disregard them and their needs. Did you know that there is plenty of support for both the sufferers and their families? There is also an arsenal of medication that can also be of help. The key is to learn to accept that those things are resources.
The thing about mental illness is that it creeps up on people like you and me. It does not discriminate when it attacks. Sometimes people are affected by a mental illness for a period of their lives, and others are affected for life. The key is to take care of it. Check out some ways to take it easy here.
As we celebrate one of the most memorable months in the year for Haitians, we also can keep in mind that mental health is a must in our well-being as a society. It is time for us to take this seriously. I know it is not the flaming hot subject of the century, but being in this field for as long as I have, it has opened my eyes to how much of a big problem it is amongst our own Haitian brothers and sisters.
Click on the links I provided to you above. Get informed about mental health in order to contribute to making our society stronger and to continue to be an example for the free world as we were in 1804! The more we are educated, the better we can support our community and lead! Se pou nou mete tet ansanm! (We have to come together as ONE!)
That said, Happy May Celebrations! Happy Haitian Flag Month! Kenbe tet nou wo avek fyete san nou ba bliye kenbe men youn lot nan non lanmou! (Let’s keep our heads high and be proud as we remember to support each other all in love!)
About Author: Martine is a blessed wife, the mother of three precious children and the creator of the MeUnfinished.com. Her passion to inspire, empower and motivate people on their life journey. Her passion to inspire, empower and motivate people on their life journey.After growing up in Haiti, she graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in Rehabilitation Counseling. She also completed her Master’s Degree at Nova Southeastern University in Health Services Administration. She has worked as a high-crisis counselor for 13 years solving (or improving) mental issues for thousands of families.