On Friday 17th May, Mentality hosted a talk from Rosie Dutt (BSc, MSc, MRes) on Mental Health Systems in the UK and Abroad. Rosie came in to discuss her Mental Health placement that she will be undertaking over this summer in a psychiatric facility in Bali; as well as to talk about the differences in the mental health systems in the UK, the US and south eastern Asia. Thereafter, Rosie will go on to study for a PhD in the US with a focus on imaging applications within mental health.

The talk addressed the differences between private and public mental health services, with respect to the whole referral process from GP appointment through to a patient’s first therapy session in the UK, compared to using the private system in the US, which involves multiple return visits and the trialling of various medications, often due to the push for pharmaceutical profit in private healthcare. However, Rosie stressed the idea that both of these developed nations have established and well organised, albeit slightly different guidelines for diagnosing and treating mental health disorders. She went on to compare the mental healthcare systems in the UK and the US to those in Bali, explaining that the outlook on mental illnesses remains outdated. Rosie showed images of a technique they use in Bali called “pasung”, which entails the shackling of people showing signs of psychological disabilities in order to restrain them in isolation. Although banned in 1977, she explained that the practise is not well regulated in rural areas and that it remains regularly carried out, both in formal institutions and in a domestic setting.

Rosie’s talk went on to show a case study of a man who underwent Pasung for 12 years, before his family were approached by community workers and taught how to better approach mental health illnesses and the treatment for them, including therapy and medication. The man went on to be the breadwinner for the family after successful treatment, proving that community schemes are improving the wellbeing of mental health patients in Bali.

Rosie will be heading to Indonesia herself this summer to undertake a PhD placement in a psychiatric facility in Bali, and is currently raising funds for this. Mentality is supporting Rosie in this venture, and would like to invite Felix readers to help her out through her fundraising page.

For anyone who is interested in being more involved in hosting talks similar to Rosie’s, as well as continuing to raise awareness for mental health awareness and wellbeing around Imperial, Mentality is still looking to fill positions on their committee for the 1920 academic year. The roles are casual and can take up as much or as little time as you would like, so do get into contact with mentality@imperial.ac.uk or contact us on our Facebook page ‘IC Mentality’.