Home Health Breaking the Chains of Stigma: Addressing Mental Health in Indonesia

Breaking the Chains of Stigma: Addressing Mental Health in Indonesia

by John Milton
Mental Health in Indonesia

Gacor – Sadness and dissatisfaction are often regarded as being less near to God. Uncomfortable with ourself and the problems we face, are often labeled ungrateful. You can’t sleep well for days because you’re overwhelmed with feelings? Surely you don’t worship enough. In Indonesia, people with mental illnesses face a lot of discrimination and unjust treatment. The bad stigma about mental health issues seems to be everywhere. Many people who suffer from mental illnesses go unnoticed. 

The President’s New Freedom Commission on Mental Health defined stigma as a group of negative attitudes and beliefs that motivate the general public to fear, avoid, and discriminate against people with mental illness. Erving Goffman, a renowned sociologist, describes stigma as a phenomenon in which an individual with an attribute that is highly discredited by society is rejected as a result of that attribute. Stigma surrounding mental health or other conditions leads to social exclusion and isolation, decreased self-esteem, difficulty finding education or job opportunities, limited access to quality health care, and so on. The most significant consequence of stigma is that people are not getting the care they need. Therefore, less than a half of those with mental health conditions get treatment, according to Mental Health America. People are afraid to reveal that they have mental health problems. They are afraid of being treated differently.

This cannot be disregarded, as the prevalence of mental illness is on the rise and getting worse every day. According to the World Health Organization, more than 800,000 people die by suicide each year, or nearly one person every 40 seconds. Riskesdas data (2018) stated that 7 out of 1000 Indonesian families had a family member suffering from Schizophrenia/Psychosis. Over 19 million people over the age of 15 are impacted by this disease. Yogyakarta is one of the cities with the highest number of people with mental disorders (ODGJ) in Indonesia in 2016. From its 3.5 million population, there are 12 thousand ODGJ. The districts of Gunung Kidul and Sleman recorded the highest suicide rates in Indonesia during 2016-2017.

Moreover, traditional society often assumes mental disorders are caused by evil spirits, sinful acts, unbelief, and being cursed. Persons with serious mental illnesses are sometimes chained because they are seen to be a source of embarrassment to their family.

This phenomenon can’t be solved by the government alone. We must work together to eliminate stigma and participate in controlling cases of mental disorders. Because the majority of people with mental illnesses are teens and young adults and we, as youth as well as medical students, have a big role in campaigning and advocating this issue to the society, through this writing I humbly invite you to voicing the importance of mental health, increasing knowledge about mental health, and starting to advocate this matter to the stakeholder so we can constantly improve mental health state in Indonesia. Because being mentally healthy always starts with you(th) by CIMSA UPH.

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