“We are working in the most dangerous place in the world, Mogadishu!” shouts Dr Habeb who runs the only mental health clinic in Mogadishu, Somalia. The World Health Organisation (WHO) says 1 in 3 Somali’s suffer from some kind of mental illness. From the camps for Internally Displaced People dotted around the region to the bombed out streets of Mogadishu is a generation of Somalis who’ve only known war, famine, displacement, and loss. Mass psychological trauma is the result.
The most common response to mental illness is forcible restraint. The use of chains in homes – or as is more common in huts or under trees outside the home – to restrain a family member with a mental illness is widespread. It is also accepted practice in the few institutions that exist. The WHO says that in the last decade 90% of the treated patients it surveyed were subjected at least once in their lifetime to chaining. Chaining patients is seen as an alternative medication, which not only leaves the patients stigmatized but also causes physical injuries on hands and legs. Some of the chained patients end up committing suicide. The person is usually shackled not only during the ‘acute crisis’ but throughout his or her life.
Photojournalist Robin Hammond traveled to Sudan, Uganda, Somalia, Kenya, and the Democratic Republic of Congo to document the plight of the mentally ill in regions facing crises. He intends to cover 10 more countries for his long term project on mental health in Africa.
Condemned – Robin Hammond
Visa pour l’image – Perpignan
Evening shows – Campo Santo