Taking Psychiatry to School in Jamaica: Using Creativity as the Vehicle for Postcolonial Social Reengineering/Healing in Jamaica
Frederick W. Hickling, University of the West Indies
The history of insanity has been a continuous metamorphosis of newly minted orthodoxies that have demanded taking psychiatry to school. The 1962 postcolonial deschooling community mental health revolution in Jamaica began with gradual deinstitutionalization of lunatic asylum beds and reschooling with Community Engagement Mental Health. Postcolonial social reengineering home-schooled Psychohistoriographic Cultural Therapy in the Mental Hospital triggering psychological deinstitutionalization sensitizing the Jamaican population to social healing of madness. With the world’s third highest rate of lethal violence in 2005, the next major wave of psychiatric reschooling placed psychiatry in primary schools. Pioneering primary mental health proof of concept risk-reduction
Dream-A-World Cultural Therapy was implemented for high-risk eight-year-old children exhibiting poor academic performance and behavioral dysfunction at a Kingston inner-city primary school. Significant improvements in academic performance and school social and behavioral adjustment were realized. A scale-up Dream-A-World Cultural Therapy project in 4 inner-city primary schools had similar positive results. This led to New Dream-A-World Cultural Resilience Transition to Scale in 35 failing primary schools with comparable success. This power-shifting metamorphosis took psychiatry out of the office with indigenous creativity realizing the core principle of the cultural therapy process. Placing psychotherapy squarely in the hands of schoolteachers and families, cultural therapy was
positioned as a robust agent of liberation psychiatry in oppressed and impoverished communities. A neurobiological epigenetic model of this cultural creativity process for healing and social reengineering is proposed.
Frederick W. Hickling was educated at the University of the West Indies, University of London, and University of Edinburgh. He was appointed Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry at the University of the West Indies, and is the Executive Director of the Caribbean Institute of Mental Health and Substance Abuse (CARIMENSA) UWI, Mona. Author of more than 100 scholarly articles, and author of six books, he was elected a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association in 2009, and a Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists UK in 2011. He received the Order of Distinction (Commander) by the Government of Jamaica in August 2012.