Haiti: A Trauma, Then a Healing Process


William Spear (left) with people recovering from tsunami in Samoa

During  his long career William Spear has worn many hats: as macrobiotic teacher and  counselor, health  educator, feng shui expert, but also as a mental health worker for people recovering  from natural disasters such as the Asian tsunami.  In a Huffington  Post article he explains why Haitians will need  long-term mental health support to recover  from this nearly unfathomable disaster.  An  excerpt:

“It is the resiliency of the Haitian people, their faith and community support, which will rebuild their country — not timber and nails or bricks and mortar. If the former is not given loving support from outsiders, mental health professionals, clergy and all those who care, then what we are likely to witness will be even more grim than watching tens of thousands of bodies waiting to be buried. Instead of watching as building materials are distributed, we could witness an entire country traumatized by a pervasive lack of understanding of the emotional needs of victims of a major disaster.

“Though I believe that Haiti can heal and grow in the coming months, what is needed from abroad even more than money is patience and respect for the process. We must all keep in mind that recovery and reconstruction always tests people’s patience. I do not have enough fingers and toes to count the number of times I have seen people go for months following a disaster without adequate housing, roads or other elements of an infrastructure that was demolished by a cyclone, earthquake, tsunami, bombing or floods; however, as sad as this may be, it is the reality of a disaster that affects a small country like Haiti. Taking care of people’s emotional needs is not separate from providing extra blankets or bars of soap. Agencies who work heart-to-heart will need generous donors, too….”  Read the entire post here.


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