First Lady Dedicated to Social Advocacy for Mental Health Issues

First Lady Sophia Martelly's advocacy for the poor began at the age of 18. It was on Christmas Day she volunteered to deliver dinners to the hungry. It was this shared compassion for Haiti's poor that brought her and husband, President Martelly, together. Since gaining the spotlight, the Martelly's have built a reputation for becoming involved in programs and causes pertaining to the neediest on the island.


The First Lady has her own office out of which she operates at the National Palace. She is a natural in her role as social advocate, overseeing projects and heading committees for many charitable causes.

One of her major interests is support for mental health, which she has brought to the public's attention with her high profile. She first spoke about it on World Mental Health Day. The First Lady wants to provide more funding for long-standing mental health institutions, such as Psychiatry March Line Center. She says they "deserve a better fate, (so) I got engaged."

She has been instrumental in getting the homeless of Port-au-Prince off the streets with #177, a contingent of paramilitary citizens, who round up homeless and mentally disturbed people. This has emptied the streets and filled up the shelters, a goal she is proud of having achieved.

The AIDS epidemic has also gotten her attention, with delegations from her office sent to UN conferences. She has also gone after funding for women and children through the Global Fund.

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