Right now, people with mental health problems across the globe are living in shackles. Some have been for years—some on their family’s property.
There is no robust data on the practice nor has there been concerted global effort to end it.
Ahead of World Mental Health Day on Saturday, human rights groups are pushing governments to act via the #BreakTheChains campaign.  
One new Human Rights Watch report sheds some light, finding evidence of the practice across 60 countries and a range of age groups, ethnicities, and socioeconomic strata. In many communities, it’s “an open secret,” said disability rights researcher Kriti Sharma. 
But the practice is not always rooted in cruelty. In a moving firsthand account of his work with a shackled man in Ghana, Stephen Assante of the Mental Health Advocacy Foundation explains that shackling is often done out of families’ utter desperation and lack of resources.

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