Comments about Breaking the Chains

For those who have seen the film Breaking the Chains, we invite you to leave your thoughts and comments about the film and the project. We would like to create a dialogue around the issue of human rights and mental health with particular attention paid to the practice of Pasung and similar practices widespread around the world. Please feel free to leave your comments at the end of this page in the comment box.

Here are some of the comments we have received so far:

“Documenting the present situation and describing the way in which people with mental disorder are treated is an important first step for the improvement of care and the creation of a better life for people with mental illness.  Dr Colucci’s ‘Breaking the chains’ is of great importance in this regard and I am thankful that she has prepared it.
Professor Norman Sartorius, Geneva (Switzerland)
President, Association for the Improvement of Mental Health Programmes
Former director of the World Health Organization‘s (WHO) Division of Mental Health
Former president of the World Psychiatric Association

“‘Breaking the Chains’, a film by Erminia Colucci about mental health care, is a powerful description of practices in Indonesia that many people will find deeply disturbing. The film documents methods of physical control and restraint that may inconsistent with agreed international standards as set out in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability. The author shines a spotlight on practices in mental institutions that need to be carefully assessed for their humanity, safety and cultural congruence. We need to take mental health care out of the shadows, and to repeatedly insist that the quality of mental health care is equivalent to good quality physical health care worldwide.”

Professor Graham Thornicroft
Professor of Community Psychiatry, King’s College London, Institute of Psychiatry, London (England)

“Delighted, encouraged, saddened and horrified by the material shown in
this beautiful and confronting documentary, which we saw last night. It
still requires funding to bring it to completion but such an important
story. I have personally seen situations in other countries where mentally
ill people have been physically restrained with chains and ropes to
prevent them harming themselves or others. In Australia, it’s not long ago
that mentally ill people were treated not so differently and this can
still happen even today. Some remember for example the worst excesses of
Kew Cottages. Thank God that scientific and medical advances are such that
there are appropriate medicines and therapies that can help people in
these situations. The documentary showed a movement in Indonesia to break
the chains and bring good medical help to people in desperate need. Thanks to Ben Rinaudo
for being willing to be part of the panel questioned following the documentary and
congratulations to Dr Erminia Colucci, film producer, and to Associate
Professor Harry Minas, Director of the Centre for International Mental
Health, University of Melbourne”

David Ayliffe, Mental Illness Fellowship, Melbourne (Australia)

“Mental health issues remain largely ignored or portrayed negatively by the media leading to widespread misconceptions in the general public. A video clip from the documentary ‘Breaking the chains’ was part of the collection of films screened during ‘Medfest 2015: an international medical film festival’, an initiative of Trainees Royal College of Psychiatry UK, organised by Foundation University Medical College Islamabad, Pakistan in April 2015. The film was well received by the audience comprising of medical students, GPs and mental health professionals. The participants appreciated the cultural sensitivity shown by the film makers, and their careful handling of the difficult subject matter. We were able to generate a passionate discussion relating to the health belief models prevalent in different societies, and the cultural practices regarding care of mentally ill people in the community.”
Dr Sawera Mansoor
Consultant Psychiatrist, Foundation University Medical College.Islamabad, Pakistan.

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