The C2S blog draws on the arts, the social and biological sciences to explore the many meanings of health and "dis-ease." Designed to be a locus where patients, their families and professionals can meet on a level playing field, it is the natural off-shoot of the Cell 2 Soul Online Journal. We encourage the submission of ideas, essays, poems, stories, humor, and timely reviews relating to the humanities and health care.
Around 25 years ago, I met the Balinese anthropologist and psychiatrist, Dr. Luh Ketut Suryani. She went on to establish the Suryani Institute for Mental Health in 2005, because, she said, “A large number of mentally ill people in Bali are essentially abandoned, permanently kept under restrains, chained or in makeshift cages by their families, or community (pasung).”
Indonesia spends less than 1 percent of its total health budget to mental health, uncommonly low even compared with other lower middle-income countries. It has only about 700 trained psychiatrists, roughly one for every 350,000 citizens.
Drs. Nova and Suryani have devoted their lives to improving the care and living conditions for Indonesia’s mentally ill. Pause for a moment to honor these two visionary women.
Dr. Luh Ketut Suryani
Dr. Nova Riyanti Yusuf
Here is a German language You Tube on "Bali's Dark Side." (Unfortunately, I can't find a copy with English subtitles, but the film can be viewed and appreciated even with the German narration.)
Caitlin Stiglmeier is a pediatrician who spent the month of March 2015 working in rural India. Her occasional FaceBook pieces are captivating. Here is a recent one, dated May 11.
"It’s difficult to comprehend, still, the full scope and magnitude of my time in India. I felt I was merely being led to communities, families, individuals for a reason, through no control of my own. I lived much 'freer' in India, relinquishing all control over a situation yet still attempting to intervene medically when I was able.
photo by Caitlin, March 2015
This family was the first of many I saw in a migrant community in Segwa, and their expressions say it all. Mom was very skeptical, wary of the white person who appeared out of nowhere and asked so many questions. Dad was elated, stating I was a 'god in the flesh', physically here to help rather than an inanimate object in a temple. The children either greeted me with smiles and laughter or tears and tentative glances.