Random Analytica

Random thoughts, charts, infographics & analysis. Not in that order

Tag: Mental Health

60. Mefloquine Dispatches: Bodhi Mani Risby-Jones, 27th April 2023

Background: I read the article and didn’t make the connection but a colleague reached out and asked “Is this mefloquine”? So I reread the article. Via The Guardian. Australian man arrested in Indonesia says he felt ‘almost possessed’ during naked rampage. Excerpt:

Bodhi Mani Risby-Jones says he was not himself and felt “almost possessed” during an alleged drunken naked rampage that led to his arrest on an Indonesian island.

The 23-year-old Australian faces up to five years in jail if convicted over the alleged incident on Thursday on Simeulue, within the conservative Aceh province off the coast of Sumatra.

Risby-Jones allegedly emerged without any clothes from Moon Beach Resort and proceeded to chase and strike people on the main village road, according to the Aceh media outlet Bithe.

Shortly before 1am the Noosa man abused a fisherman from the village of Lantik, who suffered serious injuries requiring more than 50 stitches on his heel as well as fractures, Indonesian police told the publication in a written statement.


Name: Bodhi Mani Risby-Jones

Occupation: Carpenter/Tourist

Incident Details: 27th April 2023 (aged: 23). Simeulue, Aceh, Indonesia.


Exposure to Anti-Quinolines: To be confirmed.

Conditions witnessed/documented that relate to Quinism: Prodromal symptoms including mania, violence and disassociation. Instant regret after the incident. No documented history of violence.

Confounding Factors: Alcohol (admitted to consuming one vodka prior to the incident). Sunstroke reported the day prior. Was in Aceh to surf because he was ‘depressed’.


OPINION: When I reread this article a couple of points jumped out to me which lead me to question what anti-malarials Bodhi Mani Risby-Jones received. Note: Mefloquine has not been confirmed as at 1st May 2023.

Bodhi Mani Risby-Jones reportedly felt like he was ‘possessed’ when he went on his rampage in Aceh. As he walked from Moon Beach Resort after striking a security guard he would chase and strike people on the main village road. He would eventually knock a local fisherman off his bike and then throw the motorbike on top of the local who would end up hospitalised with 50-stitches and a broken leg.

Prodromal symptoms including psychotic behaviour are an early warning sign of mefloquine toxicity . Dr. Jane Quinn explained the literature already available on this subject during her 2018 testimony into the Use of the Quinoline anti-malarial drugs Mefloquine and Tafenoquine in the Australian Defence Force. Excerpt from Submission 73:


The Daily Mail article that followed up the original story stated that according ‘to Simeulue police chief detective Mayyuhdi, Risby-Jones was on the surfing trip because ‘he was depressed’. Mefloquine should not be used for people with any mental health issues. The current Center for Disease Control (CDC, USA) fact sheet for Mefloquine states:


One of the biggest surprises is how easily it is to access mefloquine in Australia. My brother just got offerred it for a trip to Nepal in 2023! I’m unsure of the recent usage of mefloquine but the most recent data still shows more than 8,000 Australians used it in 2017.

Final note: I’m sure we will hear more about this case but I’d be suggesting to the family to check Bodhi Mani’s anti-quinoline history.

Medical/MH Note: My opinion is not based on a medical nor mental health background. Just a lived experience former Digger trying to raise awareness on Quinism. Remember, PTSD wasn’t a thing until it was.



Center for Disease Control, United States of American Government. Medicines for the Prevention of Malaria While Traveling: Mefloquine. Accessed 1.05.2023. https://www.cdc.gov/malaria/resources/pdf/fsp/drugs/mefloquine.pdf

Daily Mail. Twist in case of Aussie surfer accused of drunken naked rampage in Indonesia as he faces years in jail. Published 1.05.2023. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-12031807/Bodhi-Mani-Risby-Jones-Goat-slaughter-twist-case-Aussie-accused-drunken-Indonesian-rampage.html

Defence Health, Department of Defence, Australian Government. Mefloquine. Accessed 1.05.2023. https://www.defence.gov.au/adf-members-families/health-well-being/services-support-fighting-fit/malaria-mefloquine-adf/malaria/mefloquine

The Guardian. Australian man arrested in Indonesia says he felt ‘almost possessed’ during naked rampage. Published 29.04.2023. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/apr/29/australian-man-arrested-in-indonesia-says-he-felt-almost-possessed-during-naked-rampage

Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee, Australian Senate. Use of the Quinoline anti-malarial drugs Mefloquine and Tafenoquine in the Australian Defence Force. Submission 73. Dr Jane Quinn. Published 2018.


Marriott, A. (2022). If you wake at midnight. London, UK. Austin, Macauley.



34. Mefloquine Dispatches: Other Suicides, April-1997 (Final)

Upon reflection I took this post down. I was very triggered at the time.

To the Lost.

31. Mefloquine Dispatches: Vanuatu, October 1996

In October 1996 the online parachute company from 3 RAR started to pre-deploy for Vanuatu after the Vanuatu Mobile Force mutinied. The U.S Department of State noted in its Human Rights report on the 30th of January 1997 that:

“The civilian authorities normally control the small police and paramilitary Vanuatu Mobile Force, however, a brief mutiny in October by elements of the VMF over pay issues shook the principle of civilian control. The mutiny was resolved without bloodshed.”

As the situation de-escalated the mission got scrubbed and was quietly forgotten, lost to history. Unfortunately, for the 3 RAR soldiers (along with attachments) they had already been given a Mefloquine Loading Dose.

Here is a text from a Digger who was exposed to Mefloquine on that Operation (along with during normal military service) and has since suffered life altering impacts from the drug. (Note: shared with permission with personal details removed). Excerpt:

Hi Shane. It’s * here. Love to catch up cause (sic) I got no idea what’s happening and am generally confused. I was contacted out of the blue by someone at dva (sic). This was 3 years ago. They said it was some mefloquine program and wanted to speak to me about my exposure to mefloquine. Told him I had no idea what he was talking about. But yes had taken malaria medication in 3 RAR and * in late 90’s. He told me he would email me. Following day a secure encrypted email show up. I ring him, he laughs, says oops and that he will resend it and just to delete it. Of course I don’t. But nothing shows up. I ring dva (sic). They keep fobbing me off saying someone from the mefloquine team will call me back. Never happened. I got shits and stopped calling. 6 months later I ring up to be told it’s an inquiry at the senate and I will need to lodge a claim. Advocates can’t tell me nothing till a month ago when advocate tells me to put in claim for mefloquine acquired anxiety disorder. I mention it to *, they say they saw some 60 mins show about it and was going to ring and ask me if I’d been on it cause of some of the shit I through in * then after discharge in *. So that’s me. I don’t really know more than that


This is just one example of the Department of Veterans Affairs covering up Mefloquine use in the ADF during the 1990s prior to the Senate Enquiry into the Use of the Quinoline anti-malarial drugs Mefloquine and Tafenoquine in the Australian Defence Force. Unfortunately, it is not the only example.

I’ll leave on this note.

Bureaucrats don’t authorise cover-ups. C-Level does, in this case that would be the CDF, the Departmental Secretary and the Minister.

At the time of the Senate Enquiry (June 2018) the CDF was General Angus Campbell, the Departmental Secretary of DVA was General Liz Cosson (Ret) and the Minister was the Honourable Darren Chester.


19. Mefloquine Dispatches: Lord Dannatt, 28th November 2019 (Final)

Over the weekend I come across a story from the United Kingdom.

Lord Dannatt, who was chief of the general staff in the UK between 2006 and 2009, warns of a suicide epidemic amongst veterans during a visit to the Portsmouth-based military support group Forgotten Veterans UK.

During his visit he talks about the cost effectiveness of the work being undertaken by the charity as well as how the government of the day and charities should be doing more. Via The News. Former British Army boss brands UK’s veteran suicide crisis the ‘epidemic of our time’. Excerpt:

Britain’s veteran suicide crisis has been branded part of the ‘epidemic of our time’ by the former head of the British Army, who admitted more needs to be done to stop traumatised troops from killing themselves.

General Lord Richard Dannatt admitted he was appalled by the number of people taking their lives in the UK and described the situation as a ‘tragedy’.

Lord Dannatt has come up on my radar previously. Not because he took mefloquine but because he refused it on health grounds. Via The Guardian. Ex-army chief apologises to troops over anti-malaria drug. Excerpt:

Lord Dannatt, who was chief of the general staff between 2006 and 2009, told BBC2’s Victoria Derbyshire programme he would not take the drug because of his son’s experience with it.

Dannatt said his son Bertie had suffered mental health problems after taking two doses of Lariam before visiting Africa in the late 1990s. He was not in the armed forces at the time but had been prescribed the drug by his father’s army doctor.

He is currently the highest ranking officer on record to refuse mefloquine. Mefloquine is a drug that is known to increase the chance of suicide amongst veterans.

Oh, the hypocrisy of old Generals.


Picture: Habibur Rahman (via The News)

16. Mefloquine Dispatches: Caravaggio, October 2012 (Final)

It is 2012.

I am starting to get noticeably sick but I don’t know what from. Not all the physical symptoms have arrived. My tinnitus was always present but mild. My teeth and gums are still good. My face hasn’t gone red yet. One of the accepted conditions as a consequence of taking mefloquine is epilepsy. A former CO tells me I might have brain damage. All in my future.

In 2012 the black dog never seems to go away. Derangement on occasion. It has been with me for a decade or more. It was accepted by the Army although they blame me for its occurrence. Over the years my family has become inured to its silent damage. My marriage hasn’t collapsed but the writing is on the wall.

I am watching the new Simon Schama series the Power of Art. We get to the episode dedicated to the life and works of Michelangelo Merisi di Caravaggio.

I don’t know the first thing about Caravaggio. Some people are turned away from him. He is unstable yet he has a power to turn art into majesty. He pioneers the art form of chiaroscuro, the contrast of light and shadow. He is constantly in trouble. He drinks too much, prefers to sleep in cheap rooms and hang out with his cronies, who are little more than local bully-boys.

His art reeks of the dirt, sweat and blood of everyday life. In Young Sick Bacchus he makes God human. The Martyrdom of Saint Matthew is portrayed as the brutal murder it would have been. The victim lying on the floor on the cusp of shadows, his assailant highlighted with blade in hand ready to finish the killing. It’s all too real for the Catholic Church.

Caravaggio kills a man in 1606 in a duel but it is actually little more than a cold blooded murder. He is exiled and tries to paint his way out of trouble. In a cruel twist of fate he is pardoned but imprisoned on his way home. He gets out of his prison but misses his boat. He dies walking back to Rome with the painting of David with the Head of Goliath. It is a gift for Cardinal Scipione Borghese, a Prince of the Catholic Church who has pardoned him.

I am captured by this painting. Caravaggio is Goliath. He has painted himself as a villain. The young David is surrounded by light. I finally get art because I see an artist I understand. I totally get Caravaggio. It helps explain what is going wrong in my head.

Caravaggio’s descent into madness mirrors my own. I only wish I was so talented, yet I feel like Goliath in his painting.

As Simon Schama noted in his documentary:

In Caravaggio’s time it was believed that artists were given their talent by God to bring beauty to the world and to put mortal creatures in touch with their higher selves or souls. Caravaggio never did anything the way it was supposed to be done.

In this painting of the victory of virtue over evil it’s supposed to be David who is the centre of attention, but have you ever seen a less jubilant victory? On his sword is inscribed “Humilitus Occideit Superbium”, that is, humility conquers pride. This is the battle that has been fought out inside Caravaggio’s head between the two sides of the painter that are portrayed here.

For me the power of Caravaggio’s art is the power of truth, not least about ourselves. If we are ever to hope for redemption we have to begin with the recognition that in all of us the Goliath competes with the David.”


Image: David with the Head of Goliath (1601)

13. Mefloquine Dispatches: Commonwealth Department of Veterans Affairs, 2000 (Final)

I make the call. It is a Friday afternoon. Late but not yet knock off time.

I’m trying to get through to my Delegate. The Commonwealth Department of Veterans Affairs has assigned me a public servant to investigate my claim for Depression. When my mates find out about this, they avoid me. I’ve largely disconnected from the military by this time. The Army does not talk about mental health in 1998.

I’ve been trying to get help. The mood that constantly weighs me down & the screams that I hear at night as I go to sleep don’t make any sense. I’ve been through my military documents and then my medical documents. I miss the deployment notes and the anti-malarial omission. So does the Butcher, who will do my Service Review. Six lines and a sign-off hastily written on the back of another soldier as we race on toward the Hercules readying for take-off. Easy to miss.

I am paying for my own psychiatrist. He is expensive but wants to do more work. I must work to keep a roof over my head. I’m selling my house to fund it all. There is no Non-Liability Health Care for Mental Health in 2000. In fact, there is zero care. Once you leave the Army you are on your own. They make you fight and scrape for every bit of assistance. The process is not just brutal, it’s a meat-grinder. It has been chewing up soldiers, sailors, and aircrew since 1976.

Back to my story.


It’s a Friday in 2000 and I’m ringing my Delegate at the Commonwealth Department of Veterans Affairs.

A man answers. It is not my delegate.

“Can I get through to G* please”.

“No mate, everyone has gone home for the day”.

“Ok, I’ll call back next week then”. Foolishly, I am still of the opinion that government departments like this are designed to serve people like me.

“Mate don’t bother. I know who you are. You have been ringing all the time. Your claim has been dismissed. There is nothing wrong with you. You can try to appeal it but you’re just bunging it on. We know your type”.

He hangs up the phone.

I don’t call back. The door has been slammed in may face. The Commonwealth Department of Veterans’ Affairs thinks I’m just a ‘malingerer’.

It will take me nearly two decades to regain the courage to start the DVA process again.


10. Mefloquine Dispatches: Acceptance, October-2019 (Final)

What does acceptance mean to me? My lighter side:

“The best revenge is to be unlike him who performed the injury.”

– Marcus Aurelius (approx. 170 A.D)

My darker side: Lots of good quotes in Cliffhanger (1993). My favourite is Number 8. “Take a number and get in line”.