Outside The Asylum: A Memoir Of War, Disaster And Humanitarian Psychiatry
Outside the Asylum is Lynne Jones's personal exploration of the evolution of humanitarian psychiatry and the changing world of international relief. Her memoir graphically describes her experiences as a practising psychiatrist in war zones and disasters around the world, from the Balkans and 'mission-accomplished' Iraq, to tsunami-affected Indonesia, post-earthquake Haiti and 'the Jungle' in Calais. The book poses and attempts to address awkward questions. What happens if the psychiatric hospital in which you have lived for ten years is bombed and all the staff run away? What is it like to see all your family killed in front of you when you are 12 years old? Is it true that almost everyone caught up in a disaster is likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder? What can mental health professionals do to help? How does one stay neutral and impartial in the face of genocide? Why would a doctor support military intervention? From her training in one of Britain's last asylums, to treating traumatised soldiers in Gorazde after the Bosnian war, and learning from traditional healers in Sierra Leone, Lynne has worked with extraordinary people in extraordinary situations. But this book is not only about psychiatry. It also shines a light on humanitarian aid and all its glories and problems. She shows how ill-thought-out interventions do more harm than good and that mental well-being is deeply connected to human rights and the social and political worlds in which people live. It also reveals the courage and resilience of people who have to survive and endure some of the most frightening situations in the world.