Monday, 6 July 2009

Is No News Good News and Richard Bentall's Doctoring the Mind

Monday morning, London. After the sickly heat of the last two weeks, it's now a breezy, showery city. There's no news though. The manic phone calls of Saturday have left a void of nothingness over the weekend. I sent a text. 'How are things today?' No response. I'm perturbed and anxious. Don't know whether to call for the fear that a)I'll just get a mouthful of invective; b)someone I don't know will answer the phone because it will have gone the way of all the others - lost, stolen, bartered; or c)someone from a jail or a hospital will answer...

Whatever I do will be wrong. If I try to ignore what's going on in the mountains of Tibet, because, after all, he is an adult and should be left to do what he wants - irrespective of his mental health issues - then is it irresponsible of me as a parent. Conversely, should I try and find out where he is and how he is AND if he really IS as bad as I think he is, should I contact some kind of authority that will apprehend him and help him? Is there such a body or person there in the foothills of the Himalayas, among the monks and the travellers and the mountain goats?

In the past Chabad have helped. In Ecuador and Thailand - twice. If I were to contact them in Manali, will they have an archive of those foolish tourists who come to these areas highlighted with the dangers that they present and then, through invariably their own fault, get into the most grotesque scrapes? If they did, then their dossiers on 'Zach' will be immense.

However, who's to know whether should Zach be assisted medically in Tibet or India that it wouldn't be better than here in the UK? In 'Doctoring the Mind: Why Psychiatric Treatments Fail'. Richard Bentall, a professor of clinical psychiatry, argues that one's chances of recovering from an episode of psychosis are worse in a western hospital than in the Third World. From my own experience, I can concur. I believe that in the UK we just don't have a handle on the mentally ill.

When we were so desperate to get Zach into hospital during his last acute episode two years ago now, the local mental health services were irresponsibly unhelpful. The consequence of this was that Zach was eventually arrested and taken to jail. The fact that the police were involved instead of mental health 'professionals' is testament to the unwillingness of these 'professionals' to carry out their remit and actually help.

Two years ago, Sam and I should have left Zach in Thailand in the hospital where he was being cared for on a 24/7 basis. There he was given no choice but to take the medication. He was safe and secure and he had no availability to drugs. He would have come out of the episode well and, no doubt, drug free. What happened was that we were leaned on and we had to bring him back to London where he almost died. So, yes, who says that there's decent medical provision in the west?

Meantime who knows what the sprite is up to in the valley of the white tipped peaks?


Nicola said...

Ros - agonising. I wish I had some wise words but I don't. xx

Ros Morris said...

Thanks. 'I think I'm going to stay here' are the latest...