A patient of the Haitian government’s Mars and Kline psychiatric hospital is detained in its locked courtyard in downtown Port-au-Prince in February. The hospital was founded in 1958, which might be when its wards received their last coat of paint, and was in a desperate situation even before the Jan. 12 earthquake. Louis Marc Jeanny Girard, a psychiatrist who has served as the hospital’s medical director for 10 years, said Haiti has never treated mental illness with much care. Often, he said, people suffering psychoses were dismissed as being in the grip of the “mystical.” (Eitan Abramovich / AFP / Getty Images)
A view of the camp set up in the courtyard of the Haitian government’s Mars and Kline hospital in downtown Port-au-Prince. Many of its patients have gone off to fend for themselves and the courtyard has become a makeshift refugee camp for families left homeless by the quake and for a handful of wandering mental patients. The Jan. 12 temblor, which the government estimates killed 300,000 people, also exacted a toll on the psyche of survivors.
A patient of the psychiatric hospital gestures inside its locked courtyard in downtown Port-au-Prince. For Haitians who had underlying mental illnesses, the shock and grief of the earthquake have been severe enough to trigger a variety of disorders, including schizophrenia and mania, mental health workers say.
A patient of the Haitian government’s Mars and Kline psychiatric hospital talks to workers of the center from inside its locked courtyard. According to Loruneu Aubin, administrator of the center, 150 people used to live in there but now it houses fewer than a dozen because most of the patients, some of them deemed aggressive, escaped during the earthquake.
A patient at the hospital who escaped during Jan. 12 earthquake remains handcuffed in a hall of the hospital. Foreign organizations have begun discussions with Haitian officials on the outlines of a decentralized mental health system that would rely on grass-roots diagnosis and care across the countryside.