DAA News Network

Indonesia: Fight to unshackle people with mental health problems

Posted 14/6-10 at 12.53

Especially in rural areas of Indonesia, crude physical restraint is often being used on people with mental health needs. This has led to many being chained or put in wooden stocks for long periods. This is known as "pasung" and is said to effect up to 15,000 people in the country. The result has been to worsen both their mental and physical health, some being left unable to stand or walk.

person with shackled legs

Restraint on person with mental health needs


rvita Diatri, a psychiatrist at the University of Indonesia's medical school, says this practice is a result of families being, "Hopeless because they don't have the money to bring their family to the mental health services... hopeless because of scarcity of the services." This, he says, "Is a human rights violation problem...".

There are now efforts being made trying to eliminate this practice, with a mental health training programme for doctors and nurses in the easternmost province of Aceh. According to Syarifah Yessi Hediyati, coordinator of trauma counselling in Aceh," It is better to treat these mental health patients in their communities, not in the mental health hospital. This helps to decrease stigma, gives support to the family and to the community."




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