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Over 19M mentally ill in Indonesia, WHO looks to increase access to care

Mast Irham / EPA

An Indonesian mentally ill patient, Ujang, 45, takes a bath at a small mental rehabilitation center run by the Jamrud Biru foundation in Bekasi, West Java, Indonesia, Oct. 10.

Wednesday is the World Health Organization's (WHO) 20th World Mental Health day, which seeks to bring attention to mental illness. The focus this year is 'Depression: A Global Crisis.' According to a WHO press release:

“We have some highly effective treatments for depression. Unfortunately, fewer than half of the people who have depression receive the care they need. In fact in many countries this is less than 10%,” says Dr Shekhar Saxena, Director of the Department for Mental Health and Substance Abuse. “This is why WHO is supporting countries in fighting stigma as a key activity to increasing access to treatment.” Continue reading.

Around 19 million mentally ill people live in Indonesia, and most of them have no access to proper medical treatment, the health ministry reported. Approximately 15,000 mentally ill people are physically constrained and are called "pasung," roughly meaning "shackled," according to Agence France Presse:

Between rice fields and coconut trees on Indonesia's "paradise" island of Bali, a man lies chained by the ankles to a rotting wooden bed in a garden, staring at roosters tottering by.

I Ketut Lingga, 54, has schizophrenia and is one of more than 15,000 Indonesians with a mental illness who are either chained, caged or placed in primitive stocks, according to health ministry data. Continue reading.

Mast Irham / EPA

Indonesian mentally ill patients, Fadil, left, and Budi sit on the floor of a small mental rehabilitation center run by the Jamrud Biru foundation in Bekasi, West Java, Indonesia, Oct. 10.

Mast Irham / EPA

An Indonesian mentally ill patient, Acong, 35, sits on a broken sofa outside of a small mental rehabilitation center run by the Jamrud Biru foundation in Bekasi, West Java, Indonesia, Oct. 10.

Mast Irham / EPA

An Indonesian mentally ill patient, Rahmat, covers his face as he looks out of a broken window of a small mental rehabilitation center run by the Jamrud Biru foundation in Bekasi, West Java, Indonesia, Oct. 10.

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