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The term maladi moun, literally from Haitian Creole meaning “evil or sickness caused or sent by others” or “human-caused illness,” is used in the Haitian community to explain various mental health disorders. This disorder is similar to other culture-bound notions of mental health conditions such as mal de ojo in Spain and mal’occhio or malocchiu in Italy. Maladi moun is popularly seen as a “spiritual attack” on an individual as a result of envy, hatred, or jealousy by another person, causing the individual to experience symptoms such as psychosis or depression. From a modern psychiatric point of view, it may correspond to disorders such as delusions (persecutory type) or schizophrenia (with paranoid features), or the first phase of psychosis.

The sudden appearance of symptoms (e.g., psychological ...

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