ZDF, Germany came to help stopping human right violation in Bali

All persons with a mental illness, or who are being treated as such persons, shall be treated  with humanity and respect for the inherent dignity of the human person.  They have the right to protection from economic, sexual and other forms of exploitation, physical or other abuse and degrading treatment. ZDF, as a public-service German television broadcaster based in Mainz (Rheinland-Pfalz) and an independent non-profit institution trying to help the people with mental disorder in Bali who suffering from human right violation.

“Regardless our efforts, still our aim is certainly not for us to become internationally famous, but simply to help these people who are in dire need. Thus, ultimately we want the world to know, so the government (any government) will be “forced” to act in a prudent and sustainable manner, resulting in the minimisation if not prevention of such tragedy from happening again in Bali and hopefully elsewhere in the world”, explained Professor Luh Ketut Suryani to Ulrike Eichin from ZDF, Germany together with Professor Gerhard Trabert during their visit to community where people with mental disorder still treated in inhuman condition.



“The film will be broadcasted in different television programs of ZDF (which is the biggest TV company in Europe), and there is a very good chance, that this will have positive implications – for the people in dire need and for your political intentions”, said Ulrike in relation to help Suryani Institute fight against discrimination and human right violation to the people with mental illness in Bali.  Comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation is also needed to protect people with mental disabilities in both the public  and private spheres. Every patient shall have the right to be treated and cared for, as far as possible, in the community in which he or she lives with treatment suited to his or her cultural background. “We have WHO representative in Indonesia but they seem to set no priority for this situation”, add Professor Suryani in a hopeless voice.

Der Spiegel, Germany reveals the mentally ill people chained up in Bali

Before Luh Ketut Suryani leaves paradise, she applies lipstick in the rearview mirror of her SUV. Suryani wants to look good when she encounters the horrors of the day. On this particular morning, she selects a deep red color. Then she takes her iPad from the passenger seat and spends a few minutes in preparation. Calmly moving her fingers across the screen, she reviews the medical histories of her patients, including their names, how long they have been kept locked up, and their diagnoses. Some of the case histories are 30 pages long, an attempt at order in the face of madness.

“Many don’t know what is wrong with their mentally ill family member, or why he or she began to change”, explained Professor Luh Ketut Suryani to Katrin Kuntz from Der Spiegel, Germany as she and Christian Werner as the photographer following Suryani’s works in community. Every year, three million tourists visit the island, where they go surfing and diving, get massages during the day and party in the clubs at night. Tourists come to Bali to unwind, oblivious to those locked up in chains because they are mentally ill, only a few hours’ drive from the island’s resorts. Witnessing the mentally ill in chains, in the island of paradise, was so horrified. “We will try our best to reveals how the mentally ill are kept in chained up on Bali”, promise Katrin with tears.



“Society only takes notice of the mentally ill when they become a problem. As soon as they improve, the families forget to administer the drugs”, said Suryani. She could call the police whenever she finds people in chains. Pasung is illegal in Indonesia. The government has adopted a program that aims to eliminate pasung by 2014, but Suryani finds the  plan laughable. And she doesn’t notify the police, either. “Where exactly are the police supposed to take the patients?” she asks. Bali has only one government-run psychiatric hospital, in Bangli in the middle of the island.The Bangli psychiatric hospital resembles a prison, and yet it is one of the better facilities in Indonesia, especially as there are no chains.

Finding the Hidden One in Paradise

Some severely mentally ill men and women are chained and secluded in their own homes in small dark rooms or metal cages for up to 30 years duration in the fabulously beautiful and spiritual island of Bali, Indonesia. They are hidden from family, villagers, and are unknown to mental health workers at community health centers.

“They are not given any sustained treatment with antipsychotic medications that could relieve their symptoms to the extent they would no longer need to be chained up and be confined in inhuman conditions” said Professor Luh Ketut Suryani as the leading psychiatrist in the island who regularly seeking for the Hidden One. No doctors see them, and most do not even know they exist. “Psychiatrists and government mental health workers deny there are any untreated severely mentally ill in all of Bali”, add Dr Cokorda Bagus Jaya Lesmana as the secretary of the Suryani Institute.



“There are 300 more patients are still hidden in the community without any treatment”, said Professor Suryani as she wish Bali’s government will willing to take a step in helping the mentally ill patients in community. The patient in confinement may live in unreal conditions. There is likely to be feces on the floor, and they sleep on a concrete floor, usually without a bed or blanket. There is no running water, and no toilet in the room or cage.  Food may be given only once a day. A contrast situation in an island with glamor tourism industry.

Balancing Mind, Body and Spirit in ACSR 2013

Asia has the largest population in the world, and the region is expected to continue developing both on an economic and academic level. In recent decades, there has been a considerable advancement in the study of schizophrenia,although there are still many aspects that have not been revealed.

Members of the Suryani Institute for Mental Health had the chance to present the clinical approach of Spiritual-Hypnosis Assisted Therapy (SHAT) in the 3rd Asian Congress on Schizophrenia Research (ACSR) join with the 2nd Biological Psychiatry and Psychopharmacology National Symposium. This event were held on 14 – 16 February 2013 at Sanur Paradise Plaza Hotel, Bali, Indonesia. This approach was developed by Professor Suryani had been successfully utilize in Bali for the past 10 years for the treatment of psychosis spectrum disorders. More specifically in this workshop will cover Epidemiological survey findings of schizophrenia prevalence in Bali, A culturally sensitive community based intervention for the treatment of schizophrenia, Introduction to the practice of Spiritual-Hypnosis Assisted Therapy (SHAT), and a demonstration of the approach.

ACSR 2013
(Left to Right): Dr Lesmana, Professor Suryani, Dr Basudewa, Dr Tiliopoulos