Gabriela Bhaskar

While I was studying and interning at a local newspaper in Ghana in 2008, I met a student of psychiatry who was doing part of her residency there. She told me unsettling stories of what it was like working in mental health. Patients were sent to camps, where priests and pastors tried starving the spirits out of the patients. Even after reading about cases like this in Africa, I was shocked that in the rapidly industrializing country of Indonesia, with a growing and educated middle class, the Health Ministry estimates that there are 18,000 people with mental disorders that are still subjected to pasung (shackling).

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