Chom Chao Stories – 2. Sreynuon

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Following the recent blog story from Chom Chao, we hear about another very challenging case from our Kaliyan Mith Chom Chao program manager Siheang…

‘When we first came across 20 year old Sreynuon* she was tied up and chained to a tree, surrounded by laughing children from the village and being watched from a distance by her younger brother. Why? We found out that she had mental health issues, issues which had started back in 2011. No-one in her family was able to stay at home to care for her, so when they were out, in fear that she would run away or harm herself, they would tie her up…

Sreynoun was restrained on a daily basis to avoid her running away or harming herself.

Sreynuon was restrained on a daily basis to avoid her running away or harming herself.

Now, professional support for mental health issues in Cambodia is extremely limited, and usually understanding of those with mental health issues is not well developed in most communities – it’s often seen as a curse or a burden on the community. However we found that the family had sought help for three years from the Khmer Soviet Friendship Hospital in Phnom Penh, and from another private clinic, until their money eventually ran out. Then they went to a traditional healer, which is often the most common way to address mental health issues for the poor. However, this only made Sreynuon’s condition worsen, she became more and more agitated and difficult to communicate with…

So, we referred Sreynuon to our partner TPO (Transcultural Psychosocial Organization), they are a really good organization, one of very few working in the field of mental health in Cambodia. They sent a psychiatrist to visit Sreynoun and treat her at home, and this appeared to have a really positive impact upon her, she became calmer and much less agitated in her behavior… so now we are working on long term solutions, firstly to help the family care better for Sreynuon.

we continue to work with the family to get the best  outcome for Sreynuon

We continue to work with her family to get the best outcome for Sreynuon

At the moment her relatives are all working in a garment factory, which makes daily care for her and traveling to get the medicines she needs to help control her condition very difficult, so we’ve been looking at home-based work options for family members. We’ll continue to try and help this young woman and her family overcome the problems they are facing and to improve their situation.’

*name changed to protect her identity

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