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Mental illness treated with chains not doctors by Bali poor

Paula Bronstein / Getty Images

Komang, who is diagnosed with Schizophrenia, sits in her room in Buleleng, Bali, Indonesia where she is chained by her own family so she doesn't run away and disturb the community. Komang comes from a poor family with six siblings and has been chained off and on for years while taking medication for her illness.

Many poor families in Bali, Indonesia don't have money to pay for hospitalization or doctors, and inside the spiritual Balinese society there is often a stigma and misinformation about mental illness.

Many Balinese feel it’s the work of the supernatural and their hope of solving the mental disorder is left to a “Balian,” a traditional healer, to cure.

The Indonesian health ministry spends 2.3 percent of the total national budget on health care for a population of approximately 240 million people and has a shortage of psychiatrists and one government run mental hospital in Bali.

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Paula Bronstein / Getty Images

Komang, 27, rarely changes her clothing and since her wrist is chained dressing herself becomes quite difficult.

Paula Bronstein / Getty Images

Wayan Pait, 50, who is severely physically and mentally handicapped, lays in his bed where has has been tied up and confined most of his life in Gianyar, Bali, Indonesia. According to his family, Wayan lacks muscular control so he is kept with his arms and legs tied, saying otherwise he will hurt himself. There is no official diagnosis for his medical condition from the local hospital, although Polio has been suggested.

Paula Bronstein / Getty Images

Ketut, 33, has his hair cut by his brother Nengah in his room where he has been chained for the past eight years on May 8 in Manggis, Bali, Indonesia. His family says he has shown signs of a mental disorder for nine years but only took him to a Balinese traditional healer.

Paula Bronstein / Getty Images

Ketut is shackled by his own family in order to control him. He is monitored by the Suryani Institute for Mental Health, a non-profit institute that cares for the mentally ill providing free medical and psychiatric treatment. The mental health institute works to get all of their patients released but in some cases the family creates more problems.

Paula Bronstein / Getty Images

Gede, 28, stands in his room inside the home of his family where he has been chained for years on May 5 in Buleleng, Bali, Indonesia. Gede went to school for nine years and has been to the mental hospital twice but escaped in 2006.