An aspiring model has been locked in a cage in the Philippines for five years after suffering from a mental breakdown, according to numerous media reports.
Bebe, whose last name has not been made public, was diagnosed with “psychotic depression” in 2014, The New York Post reported. The now-29-year-old spent time in a psychiatric hospital after suffering from hallucinations, but in 2015 her family locked her in a cell at home when they could no longer afford the hospital or her medications but still needed to keep her and others safe, the outlet continued.
Newsflare obtained a now-viral video showcasing the woman, who has spent the last five years living inside the cage.
A family friend of the woman is now hoping to raise money to send her back to inpatient treatment, The Sun added.
Here’s what you need to know:
Bebe’s Family Could No Longer Afford Her Medical Bills After Her Father Became Sick
The Sun reported that Bebe was suffering from hallucinations when she was diagnosed with mental illness in 2014. The outlet said, “The woman, 29, had been living with family in the Philippines and dreamt of becoming a professional model before she was diagnosed with psychotic depression in 2014.”
Bebe was later admitted to a psychiatric unit at a hospital in the Negros Occidental province, where her mental health began to improve after a year of treatment, Newsflare reported.
In 2015, Bebe’s father’s health declined and the family could no longer afford her medical bills, The New York Post said.
Bebe Is Dressed in Rags Because She Eats Her Clothes, a Family Friend Says
Newsflare said Bebe was discharged from the facility and sent home to be taken care of by her siblings. Her depressive episodes and hallucinations returned when she ceased taking her medication, the outlet continued.
Family friend Glyzel Bullos recalled to Newsflare that “there were instances when Bebe would become violent so the family resorted to locking her up for her own safety.
“Sometimes Bebe would throw things at neighbors, or wander outside the house and start riding the bus,” she told to the outlet. “There was one time her family was looking for her and found her a week later in Cebu province when the police contacted them.”
Bebe’s siblings eventually “built a small cage” for their sister to live inside their home, Newsflare reported.
Bullos explained to Newsflare that Bebe wears rags because she eats her clothes.
“She munches on her dress until they are tattered, so they dress her in sacks because she doesn’t like eating them,” Bullos said to the outlet. “They are locking her up so she won’t hurt herself, and not because they don’t love her.”
Bullos Hopes the Public Will Help Send Bebe Back to Treatment
Bullos is now hoping the public will help send Bebe back to inpatient treatment, Newsflare reported.
“Medical services are expensive, especially a private mental institution,” she shared with the outlet.
“I hope there are people who could help us bring Bebe back to her past self,” she continued.
Bebe’s case is not unprecedented in the Philippines, The New York Post reported. The outlet cited the country’s latest self-reported statistics from the Social Weather Stations, in which only 16% of families rated themselves as “not poor.” According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, about 17.7 million Filipinos had income “insufficient to meet their basic food and non-food needs” in 2018.
In August 2020, The Sun reported about a similar case in which a mentally ill woman in a remote village had been locked in a cage for 25 years after suffering a mental breakdown.
“The practice is not uncommon in rural areas of the Philippines, according to separate reports from The Guardian and The World Health Organisation,” The Sun reported.