Breaking the Chains 

A Film by Dr. Erminia Colucci

Breaking the Chains photoThe practice of using shackles and chains (known in Indonesia as pasung) to physically restrain people with mental illness is widespread in Indonesia (as in many other developing countries) and almost universally ignored. The Indonesian government is the first of any low- or middle-income country that has established a national program to eradicate this practice. This documentary, the first of its kind, highlights the activities carried out at several levels in the country to eradicate this form of human rights abuse and give freedom and dignity to the mentally ill.

This film tells an original story about the social and political activism to free them from this practice. In particular, the film follows the activities that have been initiated by an organisation run by people with mental health problems. 

This film is part of a photo/film-documentary series "Breaking the chains: Human rights violations of people with mental illness" currently under production.  

Breaking the Chains - Trailer


For further information:


Dr. Erminia Colucci

Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne, Australia

Dr Colucci is a Research Fellow/Lecturer at the Global and Cultural Mental Health. Her main areas of research and training are in Psychology, Cultural Psychiatry and Anthropology. Dr. Colucci's research has been presented at various national and international conferences, and has been published in numerous academic journals and books. She also produces photographic exhibitions and film-documentaris on her research and teaching interests.



Events for Breaking the Chains

November 2, 2013 - Invited Preview Screening at conference "Building a Collaborative Research Platform and Professional Training Workshops for Community Mental Health in Developing Countries", Taiwan

October 29, 2013; 7:30pm  - Advance Preview Screening for Arts In Action, Bella Union. More information here.

October 15, 2013; 5:45pm - Preview Screening at the Centre for Global Mental Health, London, UK. More information here.  

October 11, 2013 - Preview Screening at the World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland

August 21, 2013 - Invited Preview Screening at the 3rd Global Mental Health Summit, Bangkok, Thailand. More information here

Free Resources about Pasung and Mental Health

Podcast - Hosts Ben Rinaudo and Brendon Clarke talk to psychologist and filmmaker Dr. Erminia Colucci and Dr. Hervita Diatri from the University of Indonesia about "Breaking the Chains" and pasung. We also preview the Dax Centre show called Inspired Lives. Click here to access this podcast

Podcast - Ben Rinaudo and Mel Kelleher interview Megan McGrath, who is the Mental Health & Psychosocial Support Coordinator in World Vision's Humanitarian & Emergency Affairs Team. Megan recently returned from Somalia where she was working on famine response. Click here to access this podcast

Video and Interviews - Kate Arnott interviews Dr. Erminia Colucci and Professor Harry Minas from the Global and Cultural Mental Health, on Dr. Colucci's new documentary exploring Indonesian practice 'pasung'. To view this short video and article, please click here