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 practicing 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 traumatized 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.
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.—THE BOOKSELLER
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
Her blazingly frank account is as enlightening on shifts in psychiatric treatment as it is on local implications of humanitarian-aid policy. Brilliantly insightful.—NATURE
A profound memoir... Her compassion is clear sighted, and she explains complex geopolitical and psychological issues in plain prose.—DAILY TELEGRAPH
A passionate account... her portrayal of human suffering and the human response is vividly described.—THE SPECTATOR
About the Author:
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 specializing 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.