In many mental facilities, it has become commonplace to keep patients in cages and feed them low-nutrient diets.
Indonesian mental facilities have gained poor reputations for keeping their patients in appalling facilities and living conditions.
As you’ll view below, some patients are chained in cages, most are fed low-nutrient diets, and it is a common practice to separate the ill from others. In essence, those who need psychiatric help and support the most are being left to suffer life in solitude.
Stunned by this reality yet inspired to raise awareness about this issue, American photographer Andrea Star Reese has been traveling to Indonesia the past few years to document the conditions the mentally ill live in. The photographs are difficult to stomach, but they relay the everyday horrors approximately 19 million mentally ill patients are forced to endure in Indonesia.
“There are still doctors that use only one prescription and one diagnosis – insane,” says Reese.
The activist hopes that by sharing these disturbing images, mental hospitals and the health practitioners employed by them are forced to adopt change.
“Agus sings in his cage. Keepers won’t let him out fearing he would run away, so this cage has become his permanent home.”
“Evi’s hallucinations started when she was fifteen. Her parents paid for the wooden bed and Islamic approach to her treatment.”
“Galuh Foundation in Jakarta, Indonesia is licensed by the government. No one is turned away, but government provides only two months of food, there is no actual housing, only a cage-like pavilion, where men and women are separated by a wire wall.”
“Muhammad (left) is performing a mass healing. For the whole day and night the patients will drink herbal drinks, pray, vomit and eventually enter hypnotic trance.”
“For ten years Anne was held in a room without a window and according to her father she didn’t need to eat much. She used to like running, but now she cannot stand.”
“Keeping patients in cages has become a common practice.”
“Lack of food is a reality that patients have to face every day.”
“Saimun has been living with a wooden leg restraint for 5 years. He’s forty, cannot talk and lives with his brother who is also mentally impaired. They and their mother are completely dependant on charity of their neighbors.”