Monday, May 13, 2013

Kenya Asylum Break, Psychiatric Hospitals, & Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

From today's BBC article "Kenyan patients escape from Nairobi's Mathari hospital:"
Forty mentally ill patients have escaped from the Mathari Mental Hospital in Kenya's capital, Nairobi, after overpowering guards, police say.
A search has been launched for the patients, some of whom are known to be violent, police told the BBC. Kenya's Standard newspaper reports that the group escaped from the state hospital after complaining that the medicine given to them was ineffective.
Mathari is the biggest psychiatric hospital in Kenya. In 2011, rights groups called for an investigation into alleged human rights abuses at the hospital following a CNN documentary "Locked up and Forgotten". The CNN crew reported that during a visit to the hospital, they found a dead body locked up in a seclusion cell with a patient. Senior Nairobi police officer Moses Ombati told the BBC the patients had staged a protest, before overpowering guards and escaping.
For a novel about a psychiatric hospital, try Ken Kesey's classic One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest:
In this classic of the 1960s, Ken Kesey's hero is Randle Patrick McMurphy, a boisterous, brawling, fun-loving rebel who swaggers into the world of a mental hospital and takes over.
A lusty, life-affirming fighter, McMurphy rallies the other patients around him by challenging the dictatorship of Nurse Ratched. He promotes gambling in the ward, smuggles in wine and women, and openly defies the rules at every turn.
But this defiance, which starts as a sport, soon develops into a grim struggle, an all-out war between two relentless oppnonents: Nurse Ratched, back by the full power of authority, and McMurphy, who has only his own indomitable will. What happens when Nurse Ratched uses her ultimate weapon against McMurphy provides the story's shocking climax.
For a newer, young-adult psychiatric hospital novel, try It's Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini:
Like many ambitious New York City teenagers, Craig Gilner sees entry into Manhattan’s Executive Pre-Professional High School as the ticket to his future. Determined to succeed at life—which means getting into the right high school to get into the right college to get the right job—Craig studies night and day to ace the entrance exam, and does. That’s when things start to get crazy.
At his new school, Craig realizes that he isn't brilliant compared to the other kids; he’s just average, and maybe not even that. He soon sees his once-perfect future crumbling away. The stress becomes unbearable and Craig stops eating and sleeping—until, one night, he nearly kills himself.
Craig’s suicidal episode gets him checked into a mental hospital, where his new neighbors include a transsexual sex addict, a girl who has scarred her own face with scissors, and the self-elected President Armelio. There, isolated from the crushing pressures of school and friends, Craig is finally able to confront the sources of his anxiety.
Ned Vizzini, who himself spent time in a psychiatric hospital, has created a remarkably moving tale about the sometimes unexpected road to happiness.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing about Kenya Asylum Break. It was nice reading this blog.

    Psychiatrist and Therapists in NYC