By Carlotta Mohamed
The Haitian American Caucus (HAC) wrapped up their second installment in a series on mental wellness, on June 2 in Brooklyn. The series has created a roadmap to give the Haitian community an opportunity to seek help for their loved ones or themselves.
HAC’s three-part installment series, “Overcoming The Stigma and Benefits of Counseling” creates a forum through trusted Haitian organizations that can share information on the subject, said Abe Emile, committee chair of Health and Wellness for HAC.
Individuals of Haitian descent in the United States face economic, cultural, linguistic and social barriers to integration into American society that affect their health care access, utilization, and outcomes, said Samuel Pierre, executive director and co-founder of HAC.
During the second series, panelists spoke about creating support groups, counseling services through churches and facilitating conversations between community organizations and members. A skit was also performed that displayed how mental stress can manifest in a home and affect the family.
“People learned how to have individual conversations with families and friends to address the concealed mental health concerns in one’s family,” said Emile.
Working with the Haitian community to promote wellness through community forums and personal conversations, are some of the ways mental health professional can promote mental wellness and deconstruct the notions and stereotypes around mental health counseling, said Emile.