Indonesia and 'Pasung'

Pasung - I haven't heard that word in a long time. I forgot when was the last time I heard that word on the news in the country. What is the latest news regarding the pasung case in my country, after 74 years of its independence?

Pasung is a form of punishment using wood to tie their feet and hands (KBBI, 2019). This method is mostly done in my country, Indonesia, to tie up people with mental disorders so that they do not hurt themselves or other people. However, pasung does not only occur in a family environment, it also does in institutions (Human Right Watch, 2016).

A few years ago, news about pasung done to people with mental disorders were widely published on television and in print media. The news shows how people with mental disorders are not handled well. In 2014, Indonesia had brought pasung-free discourse by reviewing the Minister of Home Affairs Letter PEM.29/6/15 of 1977. However, unfortunately the discourse has not been successful - seeing that the number of people with mental disorders who have suffered pasung in 2013 was 14,3% (57,000 people), this discourse was postponed to make Indonesia pasung-free in 2019 (Lestari & Wardhani, 2014).

News on pasung have become difficult to find lately. I don't know whether it is a lack of information or that my Indonesia finally has been able to free its people from the threat of pasung this year.

“Pasung tends to worsen the patient's psychology. The solution is acceptance, treatment, and the desire to heal the patient.”

The latest news I can find is dated back in 2018. The news typically show that pasung does not alleviate and resolve mental disorders, but rather, it does the opposite. Pasung tends to worsen the patient's psychology. The solution is acceptance, treatment, and the desire to heal the patient. Also, post-pasung treatment for sufferers is one of the most important solutions.

I really don't know much. When I found out that some of the country's children with amazing achievements had been victims of poverty due to ignorance in dealing with the disease, I was shocked. Who would have thought?

Some cases of pasung victims in Indonesia who are able to achieve extraordinary achievements, are concrete examples that pasung is not the right way to deal with mental illness. Pasung was once the past for Anto Sugianto, who was diagnosed with severe depression, causing him to be sent to the mental clinic when he tried to leave home. Pasung worsened his condition. His great desire to live a normal life again managed to get Anto out of his depression, and now he works as an English teacher with great achievements (Sabandar, 2016). His illness was no hindrance in reaching his goals.

I realize that after 74 years of independence, there are still many children of Indonesia yet to be independent, who are still shackled by the diagnosis of their illnesses and left behind from the desire to be humanized like humans in general. Pasung is not the solution, nor is it the answer.

Learn more about mental health at Seribu Tujuan

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