His name is Dr. Chencho Dorji and he is Bhutan’s first psychiatrist
September 18, 2013 11:44 AM   Subscribe

Now that, that right there, that is heroism.
posted by jaduncan at 11:52 AM on September 18, 2013

You know, I have to wonder about the mental illness/infectious disease component. Perhaps the rising rate of mental disorders in Bhutan isn't because of "modern pressures," but people bringing in an infectious (bacteria/virus/prion) disease.
posted by wuwei at 12:01 PM on September 18, 2013

I would expect it's mostly because of this sort of thing:

Last year, 156 people were treated for depression at Chencho’s psychiatric department. But rarely do his patients say they are depressed — for one, there is no word in Dzongkha, Bhutan’s national language, for depression as a clinical condition. Patients are more likely to complain of spirits or deities.

Lots of mental illnesses don't exist in historical records if you go looking for a named illness, but if you look for identical symptoms you can find lots of examples. Our idea of what these things even are is still very much in flux.
posted by echo target at 12:33 PM on September 18, 2013 [3 favorites]

It's also worth noting that family attitudes to mental illness have generally been strongly shameful in Asia (and in the West until very recently indeed). Locking people inside indicates hiding the problem rather than it not existing. Plus, you know, what else are you going to do if you run out of faith and/or money for ceremonies?
posted by jaduncan at 12:52 PM on September 18, 2013

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