Mental Health in ‘Devil’s Crossroads’

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Kunizuka Yayoi’s Hue gets clouded due to her getting upset over her purchase requests being ignored. The alarm goes off and a pacifying gas is released.

Wards are sometimes locked 24 hours a day. Access to telephones and other means of communicating with the outside world are severely restricted. Day to day patients are “totally controlled”. “Treatment” is equally primitive. Electric-shock therapy is sometimes used to calm or punish patients, as are isolation rooms.

You’d think that this is a quote from a post about Psycho-Pass’ world. The truth is that those are the words of Dr. Fujisawa, as an article in the Economist back in 2001 transfers them. And of course they refer to Japan. The conditions in mental health care establishments there is even nowadays questionable in most cases – what with cases of violent behavior towards the patients being leaked in the newspapers. The mentality that Asians have about mental illnesses doesn’t help people facing such problems either.

Episode 12 of Psycho-Pass was highly discussed for clumsily sticking out of the rest of the narrative and yet it did something right: it allowed us a glimpse behind the closed doors of the so called rehabilitation institutes. It also gives me the chance to discuss mental health care during the ages, through Socrates and Plato, as well as in modern day Japan. Continue reading

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