Robin Hammond/Panos Pictures

Ljeskovica, Osijek, Croatia

Ivica Vojtulek (57) spent 10 years inside 'Cepin Home for Adults with Mental Health Problems' before moving into an apartment in 2012 as part of deinstitutionalisation program led by the director of the 'Centre For Providing Services In The Community', Ladislav Lamza. Ivica says ''I was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic. I thought that the Americans were following me, controlling me from a distance. The Russians and Chinese too.'' He describes life in the institution: ''The first day I arrived in Cepin, everything was so strange. One of my roommates was obviously sick. In the middle of the night he shouted 'police, police'. 'Are they going to arrest me', I wondered? I was frightened. We lived in a pigsty. The toilets were very dirty. I got used to it but I was nervous all the time.'' He adds, ''I felt like I was in a prison without any freedom.'' One day he got into a confrotation with another beneficiary. It got violent. Ivica grabbed a knife and stabbed Damir three times. Looking back at the incident Ivica says ''It's no wonder I got in a fight. Every night there were fights.'' ''We were fighting because it was like we were in a prison. You couldn't spend your time usefully. There was no occupation. I was just reading the papers.'' Ivica talks about his past, ''Before I was in the institution I had a family and land. I was occupied with the land and I felt useful.'' Five times he attempted suicide: ''Three times I took pills and twice I tried to hang myself. I was very much disappointed. My children didn't come to see me. My ex-wife remarried and had another child with another man. I felt like I was abandoned.'' I thought I would stay there (Cepin) for the res of my life. That's why I decided to end my life.'' Comparing life now to his time in the institution Ivica says ''I move around quite a lot, I do the shopping everyday, I watch TV, especially soap operas. I feel. It's much better now. I talk a lot with my flat mate and tell her about the Americans and Russians following me (laughs).'' Ivica admits that things are not perfect now, he still has some suicidal thoughts. He says he gets upset about the corruption of politicians in Croatia. But he is optimistic about the future for himself and the country ''things will get better.''

Part of story
Object Name
Robin Hammond/Panos Pictures
Ljeskovica, Osijek
Max size
High Resolution
4000 x 5000 pixels
33.87 x 42.33 cm (300 dpi)
13.33 x 16.67 inch (300 dpi)
5.1 MB size on disk
powered by