This series was taken in the mental house of the photographer’s native town (Ukraine). Photographer stayed with the patients for a week, followed them throughout their daily activities and spent the night in the hospital. The topic of psychiatric disorders is hushed up in the society, and to have a mental patient in the family is often considered shameful. Not just in Ukraine, but in many parts of the former Soviet countries mentally disordered people as a rule become outcasts. Mental health services are much institutionalized and hospitalization rate is high. Clinical psychology, outpatient mental health services and social work in the Western sense is hardly available, especially in smaller towns, and psychiatrists have a low threshold for hospital admission. Most of the care given to the patients in specialized hospitals consists of simple exclusion of these patients from the society and using tranquilizers. They are rarely offered any occupation, let alone ergotherapeutic activities in these clinics and don’t have much to do. Living conditions in this particular provincial mental house were dire.

Ukraine, 2006