When it comes to mental health, I always say use as many resources as you have. Unfortunately for most people- especially people of color, especially black people- resources are far and few between. This article discusses an initiative to possibly collaborate with Haitian Voodoo leaders in order to reach the communities they serve. An intriguing approach!
“Voodoo heals the mind, soul and body. The soul is what we are, which controls everything, all our actions and mind,” Max Beauvoir, the “Ati” or supreme leader of Haitian voodoo, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
Around 70 percent of Haitians are believed to practice voodoo, a religion with roots in Africa. There are more than 60,000 voodoo priests across Haiti, often living in rural communities, Beauvoir said.
At his voodoo temple inside his coral stone-walled home, a 40-minute drive from the capital Port-au-Prince, Beauvoir has treated people with mental health disorders, as well as cancer and other physical illnesses for the past four decades.
Inside the small temple – surrounded by lush bamboo and palm tree courtyards – is an altar with the benevolent spirits’ favorite drinks in bottles and where cows, goats and chickens are sacrificed to God and the different spirits.
“Voodoo is the soul of the Haitian people and nothing can be done without that cultural basis. It is a way of life. Voodoo has always been on the frontline. It can provide treatment to people who are both physically and mentally ill,” Beauvoir said.