Shocking statistics reveal the sorry state of mental health in Timor-Leste

A recent survey has revealed disturbing facts about the rate of violence against women and children in Timor-Leste.

In the previous 12 months, an average of 40% of all Timorese women experienced some form of physical violence. The highest was among those living in Liquisa district at 47%, while in Ermera it was 44%. These districts adjoin Klibur Domin.

Among the women experiencing domestic violence, 62% showed symptoms of depression, and many developed Mental Health problems.

In the last year, 75% of boys and 67% of girls reported they had experienced physical violence in schools, leading to poor physical health, depression, anxiety, low self-esteem and suicide.

Just 1.3% of Timor-Leste’s tiny GDP is spent on health care - the lowest percentage in the world. The full extent of Mental Health in Timor-Leste has not been identified, but what is obvious is the large number of sufferers without support who wander aimlessly around Dili and other towns and villages without proper accommodation, food, clothing or medication.

Three of the Seven Cottages to be used for Mental Health at Klibur Domin

Three of the Seven Cottages to be used for Mental Health at Klibur Domin

There are only two facilities in the whole of Timor-Leste providing treatment for Mental Health sufferers. These are a 12-bed ward in the Dili Hospital and a 10 bed ward at Laclubar, three hours’ drive from Dili. Both offer treatment for a maximum of three months. After that, the patients are released back on to the streets without access to support or medication.

Ryder-Cheshire Australia has agreed to fund the refurbishment of seven existing cottages at the rear of Klibur Domin to become a 40 bed Mental Health facility.

This facility will take in patients released from the Dili Hospital and the Laclubar facility and care for them until they are well enough to support themselves.

This project will be a whole new role for Klibur Domin and will increase the number of beds to 125.