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Haitian Vodou as a Cultural Lens to Understand and Assess Mental Illness

Event Date:

May 4 @ 6:30 pm


Vodou Holistic Center
4520 West Hallandale Beach Boulevard Suite 10
Pembroke Park, FL 33023


Charlene Desir
(786) 588-8855

Program Description:

Psychology is a modern term, ideology, and concept in the Haitian culture. In Haiti, a country where many live on less than $1 a day, mental and physical healthcare are luxuries only a few can afford, and mental health support for the majority is scarcely utilized or understood. Haitian Americans who emigrate from Haiti, or are second or third generation in the United States, maintain many beliefs from their home country. The concept of mental fragility and imbalance is typically explained as spiritual malaise or possession, and is often treated with Vodou healing rituals and prayers. Most Haitians and even Haitian Americas first explain mental illness using a Vodou epistemology, or thinking lens. Assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and compliance with treatment are viewed through a Haitian spiritual context rather than as a medical issue or mental illness. Integrating Haitian cultural beliefs in assessing and treating patients should be considered. In this panel, Dr. Patricia Eliacin-El-Brini, a doctor of nursing with a specialty in mental illness; and Marie-Maude Evans, mental health therapist and founder and lead priestess of Sosyete Nago will address cultural aspects of assessing mental illness and supporting mental wellness within the Haitian community.



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