The province of Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam, Indonesia, continues to face the challenges of rebuilding after prolonged military conflict and the devastating tsunami in December 2004. In Aceh, as in other parts of Indonesia, people with mental ill health problems continue to be physically restrained and confined - a practice known in Bahasa Indonesia as pasung - as a way of dealing with problematic behaviours, in settings where there are serious deficiencies in mental health services. The impression that pasung is an ?inhumane'' practice should be examined within a broader context in order to offer durable solutions for giving care to a person who has a mental health problem. Using xploratory-ethnographic methods, in this study I examined the reasons that lead families to decide that pasung was the only option available to them, families'' explanations of mental illness, including deviant attitudes, emotional expressions and behaviors displayed by the individual who was subjected to pasung and individual subjective experience of being in pasung. The result of this study is intended to contribute to community-based mental health efforts in the region and Indonesia in general.