Cecil Gibbs Seminar Series: Staying Sane in Insane Places

Abstract: the damaging impacts of long-term immigration detention has been highlighted through many accounts by refugees and clinicians. This presentation describes the largest independent survey of mental and physical health undertaken in an offshore immigration centre. In addition to providing an accounting for burdens of illness, the conduct of the survey and subsequent visits provided an opportunity to reflect on the actions used by survivors under conditions of extreme stress as routines protective of sanity. Reflecting on extraordinary survivorship is relevant in the context of responses to recent mass dislocations experienced by people from Ukraine and Syria.

Bio: Christine Phillips is a clinician, whose work is interdisciplinary in the field of equity, health care and applied anthropology. She has worked in the refugee health sector for over twenty years and was part of the independent medical team monitoring offshore refugee processing centres over four years.