Outside the Asylum
A Memoir of War, Disaster and Humanitarian Psychiatry
By Lynne Jones
Astonishing insight into the life of a humanitarian psychiatrist working in war and disaster zones around the world - from Bosnia and 'mission-accomplished' Iraq, to tsunami-affected Aceh, post-earthquake Haiti and 'the Jungle' in Calais.
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 be a twelve-year-old and see all your family killed in front of you? 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?
Outside the Asylum is Lynne Jones's personal exploration of of humanitarian psychiatry and the changing world of international relief; a memoir of more than twenty-five years as a practising psychiatrist in war and disaster zones around the world. From her training in one of Britain's last asylums, to treating traumatised soldiers in Gorazde after the Bosnian war, helping families who lost everything in the earthquake in Haiti, and learning from traditional healers in Sierra Leone, Lynne has worked with extraordinary people in extraordinary situations. This is a book that shines a light on the world of humanitarian aid, and that shows us the courage and resilience of the people who have to live, work and love in some of the most frightening situations in the world.
Lynne Jones is a child psychiatrist, relief worker and writer. She has spent much of the last twenty-five years establishing and running mental health programmes in areas of conflict or natural disaster. Her previous book, Then They Started Shooting: Children of the Bosnian War and the Adults They Become, explores children's understanding of political violence. Her field diaries have been published in the London Review of Books and O, The Oprah Magazine, and her audio diaries broadcast on the BBC World Service.
Jones has an MA in human sciences from the University of Oxford. She qualified in medicine before specialising in psychiatry and has a PhD in social psychology and political science. In 2001, she was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire for her work in child psychiatry in conflict-affected areas of Central Europe. She regularly consults for WHO. She is currently working as a child psychiatrist in Cornwall, is an honorary consultant at the South London and Maudsley NHS trust in London, and is a visiting scientist at the François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University.
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- Publication date:
08 Jun 2017
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Lynne Jones is a world expert on the psychiatric consequences of the trauma of war. She has not shied away from providing care to people in the heart of conflict zones, where such mental health resources are virtually non-existent. Her first hand observations will open readers' eyes to the awful connections between the neglected relationship of war and mental illness, and of what can be provided at relatively low cost, with the right planning and vision. This is essential reading for those training in mental health, to consider the broader picture of the causes of mental illness that one may not see in the routine hospital clinic. An outstanding piece of work — Professor Simon Baron-Cohen
As revealing as the writing of Oliver Sacks. Outside the Asylum joins the dots of mental health and conflict of the last four decades, resulting in a moving frontline account of geographical and mental borders. Jones's quest is lucid and questioning. She introduces us to a gallery of astonishing and brave people, and her work has surely made the world a better place. Inspiring — Mark Cousins
Her blazingly frank account is as enlightening on shifts in psychiatric treatment as it is on local implications of humanitarian-aid policy. Brilliantly insightful — Barbara Kiser, NATURE
A profound memoir ... Her compassion is clear sighted, and she explains complex geopolitical and psychological issues in plain prose — Helen Brown, DAILY TELEGRAPH
A passionate account ... Her portrayal of human suffering and the human response is vividly described — Emma Williams, THE SPECTATOR
It will fill you with soaring admiration for those who dedicate their lives to help those who need it, fired by a strong belief in humanity — Caroline Sanderson, THE BOOKSELLER