When compassion brings changes: lesson from Bali’s playground

It’s hard to ask people to imagine that Bali has many hidden secret for their mental health condition. Chaining is a practice that is considered abusive and in humane in the western countries, but in Bali and in most of the under developed countries, this kind of practice is tolerated and no one speaks for the mentally ill people who are chained. The regular practice of chaining continues to compromise the dignity and human rights of people with mental disorders and hamper the quality of mental health services in Bali.  The lack of trained mental health workers and the unwillingness of the government to spend resources on the mental health system are two obstacles that the people of Bali need to overcome.

“Setting up free one person is already a miracle for me and my team since there is no financial and resources support for this works”, said Professor Luh Ketut Suryani during the tearful and joyful moment of cutting the patient’s chained that had been on his feet for 7 years. The team was delightful and feel over the moon to see the chained being cut and sense of relief from the patient after one month prior discovering the patient.

“Chaining patients is unacceptable, in humane and un-necessary, because there are alternatives to chaining. The best way to help people, who are mentally ill, is to make effective treatments accessible for them and that is something that the government unwilling to set”, said Professor Suryani full with regret.  “A community mental health model has been showed and developed by Suryani Institute for Mental Health in the peaceful island Bali  that offers a fair and effective service to the population but none of the international development partners with whom the institute tried to contact, such as the World Bank and USAID, had mental health services on their agendas”, add Dr Cokorda Bagus Jaya Lesmana as the secretary of the institute.

Discovering 7 Years in Chained on Bali’s Playground

Chronic mental disorders’ treatments in Bali tend to use the typical hospital-based, mental health institution approach. These institutions are psychiatry wards in general hospitals or, in rural areas, sections of  community healthcare centres collaborating with the general hospitals.  The absence of such interventional providence has in part contributed to a number of untreated outpatients were abandoned, kept under restrains, chained or in makeshift cages by their families.

“I am in tears seeing this reality happened in the island that most people known as paradise, where money is not a problem in the tourism point of view”, said Karim Maatem as another French freelance journalist that willing to uncover the humiliating reality for Bali’s government that unwilling to make the change for their people. As he joined Professor Luh Ketut Suryani and her remarkable community mental health team walking to a deep inside of a dusty village with hardly ever running water in the area had made him more understand of the discrimination and human right violation for the Balinese people.

The team had found a 52 years male that had been chained for 7 years in the very remote area where no health provider willing to walk in. “I am thrill with the courage of Professor Suryani to finding all the people in chained that had been hidden for many years and had been abandon by their own government”, add Karim as he agree to make her a hero in the name of humanity. “As a professor she is not just sitting at her office waiting for report from somebody else or just providing service at her comfort office but she willing to step out from her normal life to deliver her compassion and love for all the fortunate Balinese people that she can find”, said Dr Cokorda Bagus Jaya Lesmana as he help to documented the remarkable works of Professor Suryani in the community. A community mental health model has been showed and developed in the peaceful island Bali  that offers a fair and effective service to the population

New Doctor for Bali’s Mental Health

Psychological trauma is currently focused on patients’ memory of a traumatic event and the meaning of the personal trauma. Psychological trauma in childhood tends to show the most powerful and long impact of trauma, and can act as the main trigger towards psychopathological dysfunction. In particular, the psychological childhood trauma associated with depressive disorders, alcohol and substance abuse, generalized anxiety disorders, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in adult life.

Dr. Cokorda Bagus Jaya Lesmana, MD promoted following his research into the healing of patients with PTSD ( trauma in childhood). Half of his patients was treated with medication and the other half received once hypnotherapy and meditation. The results of the hypno-therapy were very encouraging. The psychiatrists and medical doctors critical. Dr. Jaya Lesmana, MD is building a bridge between the Spiritual and Medical World.


In Memoriam: Dr Anne K. Entus

It is with broken hearts that we announce the passing of Dr Ann K. Entus, PhD on Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2012, at her homeland Vancouver, Canada. The sorrow of the faithful is not that of permanent loss, but the tender sense of sadness that comes in saying good-bye for now to someone we love. May today’s sorrow give way to the peace and comfort of God’s love.

Ann was one of our international member that had been actively helping us in developing NLP program for psychiatric residence in Department of Psychiatry, Udayana University, Bali. Ann had been a sister to our founder/director, Professor Luh Ketut Suryani. She had been working side by side with Professor Suryani in many of her activities. Her latest collaboration with Suryani was developing NLP with combining Suryani’s meditation technique for her students that came to Bali in a search of spirit understanding.

Ann will always be remembered for her laughter and love of life. Ann, may you see God’s light on the path ahead, when the road you walk is dark. May you always hear, Even in your hour of sorrow, The gentle singing of the lark. When times  are hard may hardness. Never turn your heart to stone, May you always remember when the shadows fall—You do not walk alone. You will be sadly missed by all.