Tag Archives: mental-health

Uti Kulintjaku

19 May

Mental Health language project poster by Joshua Santospirito with design by Elliat Rich. Language and translations by NPY Women’s Council.
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Pages 69-72

24 Mar

For those coming in late – this is my graphic novel that I am slowly inking and putting up here for people to read, my intention is to get it published, either through a publisher or self-published. It is designed to be read on the page, not the screen but I’m putting it here for people’s interest anyway. I’d love for people to leave comments, I was keen to start some discussion on this blog where possible. It has been received quite favourably by a lot of people … which is really great, I was actually expecting some negative feedback and I have been surprised so far that I have received none at all. Given that this has been viewed over 2’000 times (some of those figures may be the same viewed coming back for more) I would have thought that this work would’ve niggled someone’s nerve out there … but not yet.

So – if you’d like to get more context, rather than starting on the pages I have put up here you can read more –
First Chapter – Friday
Previous pages in the second chapter – 65-68
OR go back to the start of the Second Chapter – Saturday which starts at page 47

Next pages here … almost at the end of the second chapter. The third and final chapter is fairly different in its mood, more of a conversation really. I’m looking forward to inking it, though I have another project (Sleuth) that I’m working on concurrently which is eating into the time that I could be spending on this project.
These particular pages were particularly cathartic for me. I used to work in this place, it was … and is still … called the Mental Health Unit in the back of the Alice Springs Hospital. There is nothing identifiable about the girl in the High Dependency Unit part. I have sort of mashed together a whole bunch of the people that I used to work with in the MHU into the nurses in the comic … don’t be offended guys.
I no longer work in hospitals, I don’t particularly like them, though I still work in the area of psychiatry.

When bush people used to come in to the Alice Springs Hospital it used to be … and probably still is … particularly difficult. Having people locked up against their will is always difficult but when you came across people who had no concept of the processes that would lead to their incarceration, massive language barriers, a different way of dealing with adversity and different cultural understandings of mental illnesses it almost always led to conflict between the patient and the staff, sometimes physical. This can sometimes lead to physical conflict that people on both sides feel could be avoided if the other side would just LISTEN!! It was a particularly intense sort of place to work. Understandably this is one of those odd areas where cultural friction is at its most obvious and it can lead to traumatisation of both parties which in turn leads to an inability to want to listen to the other sides perspective.

In a lot of ways I found this place to be something of a microcosm of Australia.

The other interesting part about these pages is that of the Aboriginal communities that dot the region around Alice Springs, not covered in any great detail in this comi-essay but are an important part in the story.

I would be interested in hearing anyone else’s thoughts.

AND – Alice Springsians might notice the inclusion of the OK Sluts who were a FANTASTIC cabaret group whose show was all about the amazing burnout that over enthusiastic white people with ideals get when they work in Aboriginal communities … ridiculously popular … incredibly talented … sadly now defunct … Hannah May Caspar, Beth Sometimes and Matthew Hill PLEASE COME BACK … watch this video here. Ah the unbearable whiteness of being.