Saturday, July 18, 2009

Bali's disturbing secrets

Not far from the beauty spots, Bali's villages hide disturbing secrets. The mentally ill are left untreated and possibly hundreds are held in makeshift shackles. This video clip shows a man who's been restrained since the '90s. He hasn't been let out at all since 1990. A villager points to an elderly man chained up next to his own excrement. Such shocking sights are not unique in Bali. Helplessness and ignorance makes parents of mentally ill patients resort to confinement. Komang's father kept him locked in a cage for eight years before he met Dr Suryani. Bali's leading psychiatrist, she's campaigned tirelessly to improve the islands mental health but the Health Minister is reluctant to help: 'We have a limited budget for drugs. Those drugs are expensive.' So she pays them out of her own pocket. Her blend of Western and Balinese methods produces great results; thanks to her treatment, Komang is now recovered and even married.

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