My colleagues and I often care for patients suffering from hallucinations, prophesying, and claiming to speak with God, among other symptoms—in mental health care, it’s sometimes very difficult to tell apart religious belief from mental illness…. Our conclusions frequently stem from the behaviors we see before us. Take an example of a man who walks into an emergency department, mumbling incoherently. He says he’s hearing voices in his head, but insists there’s nothing wrong with him. He hasn’t used any drugs or alcohol. If he were to be evaluated by mental health professionals, there’s a good chance he might be diagnosed with a psychotic disorder like schizophrenia. But what if that same man were deeply religious? What if his incomprehensible language was speaking in tongues?
I am flying off to Eastern Europe this afternoon and will only be back on 4 July. I am embarking on a very adventurous holiday with my four sisters (no spouses or partners allowed). My colleague, Jaco Barnard-Naudé, with whom I have co-authored several academic articles (we are just completing an academic article in Afrikaans on The Spear saga for Litnet Akademies), has kindly agreed to act as the guest blogger here at Constitutionally Speaking in my absence. Jaco is a professor in the Department of Private Law at the University of Cape Town and teaches and conducts research in critical jurisprudence. He is an NRF rated researcher and recipient of the UCT Fellows’ Award and also a contributor to the Mail & Guardian Thought Leader Blog.
Hope you enjoy the new perspectives and insights that Jaco will bring to the Blog in my absence. I won’t be blogging unless something earth-shattering happens in South Africa during my absence. (And what can the chances be of that ever happening — after all, this is South Africa where something earth-shattering, like the firing of a Police Commissioner hardly ever occurs!)
Have fun.BACK TO TOP