Pasung, the Indonesian term for restraints or restrained, was banned in 1977, but is still widely used in a country where mental illness is a taboo issue. Concerned by the plight of these people, NY based photographer Andrea Star Reese spent 2011-2012 investigating the conditions of Indonesia’s mental health facilities for her 2013 documentary “Disorder.”

“Walking in the door has been easy, even when conditions were horrifying, and they often are,” Reese revealed to Feature Shoot. “Leaving is what is difficult and disturbing. I am continuing this documentation because conditions remain critical, progress is slow, and Indonesia’s government does pay attention to the International press. International and National NGO’s are using my photographs and reports to further their efforts. I cannot leave this story”

More info: | Facebook | Instagram (h/t: demilked, featureshoot, time)

“Agus sings in his cage. Keepers won’t let him out fearing he would run away, so this cage has become his permanent home”

“Evi’s hallucinations started when she was fifteen. Her parents paid for the wooden bed and Islamic approach to her treatment”

“Galuh Foundation in Jakarta, Indonesia is licensed by the government. No one is turned away, but government provides only two months of food, there is no actual housing, only a cage-like pavilion, where men and women are separated by a wire wall”


“Muhammad (left) is performing a mass healing. For the whole day and night the patients will drink herbal drinks, pray, vomit and eventually enter hypnotic trance”


“For ten years Anne was held in a room without a window and according to her father she didn’t need to eat much. She used to like running, but now she cannot stand”

“Keeping patients in cages has become a common practice”

“Lack of food is a reality that patients have to face every day”

“Saimun has been living with a wooden leg restraint for 5 year. He’s forty, cannot talk and lives with his brother who is also mentally impaired. They and their mother are completely dependant on charity of their neighbors”


“Boarding school staff is trained to deal with extreme situations with their students (left). Seapudin’s (on the right) legs have been in restraints for 9 years. The muscles have atrophied because of the lack of use”

“Patients lack food, clothes, exercise, social interactions”

“There is no financing for basic things like food, so more expensive projects like facilities’ maintenance is out of the question”

“Patients’ lives are limited by a confined space where they do everything: eat, sleep, shower”

“Some families’ of the patients have paid for special healing sessions that usually take a spiritual approach”


“Young woman in shackles at Bina Lestari Foundation (left). Wediodining Lawang Psychiatric Hospital (right) has been recognized as the best mental hospital in Indonesia. It is the first hospital to realize the need for a geriatric department”


“A bed is one of the biggest luxuries a patient can have”

“Social interactions are rare and are not done systematically”

“Wediodining Lawang Psychiatric Hospital – named as the best mental hospital in Indonesia”

“Life in solitude”