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Children’s Mental Health Following the Haiti 2010 Earthquake

  • Judite BlancEmail author
  • Ingrid van Balkom
Chapter
Part of the Integrating Psychiatry and Primary Care book series (IPPC)

Abstract

The 2010 earthquake devastated many Haitian communities. Its profound effects on mental health have been investigated in a number of Haitian research studies. To truly appreciate the situation, we will describe research findings from before and after the earthquake and discuss them within the framework of the existing literature on the mental health aftermath of mass trauma. In particular, we will discuss the Haitian cultural and economic background, including societal shortcomings that could be a threat to Haiti’s children and their development. Adverse childhood experiences, such as hunger, multiple forms of violence, child labor, and the absence of child-nurturing environments, likely caused developmental vulnerabilities in Haiti’s children prior to the earthquake, although these different impacts are difficult to separate. On the other hand, existing protective factors in Haiti, such as strong family and community commitment to children and strong religious beliefs, are also present and relevant to their development and will also be taken into account. After the earthquake, Haiti made progress by implementing policies and programs that address children’s health, mental health, and development. However, ensuring healthy physical and mental development of Haiti’s children remains a serious challenge. As authors, we did not conduct one specific study but attempted here to provide insight into the pre- and post-earthquake situation, including the unavoidable interrelationship of physical and mental health in the post-disaster setting.

Keywords

2010 Haiti earthquake Childhood experiences Belief system Mental health outcomes Post-traumatic symptoms 

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State University of Haiti (Universite d’Etat d’Haiti)Port-au-PrinceHaiti
  2. 2.Department of Population Health, Center for Healthful Behavior ChangeNew York University Langone HealthNew YorkUSA
  3. 3.Jonx, Department of (Youth) Mental Health and AutismLentis Psychiatric InstituteZuidlarenThe Netherlands
  4. 4.Rob Giel Research CentreUniversity of GroningenGroningenThe Netherlands
  5. 5.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of GroningenGroningenThe Netherlands

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