Prioritising mental health in Indonesia 

Mental-health, Stories | November 4, 2022

If there is one certainty to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is that mental health matters – to everyone, everywhere. Yet despite this, needs remain high, and the response is low or inadequate – especially for people living in some of the poorest countries.  

Millions of people continue to deal with mental health issues in silence. We know that good mental health is vital for the well-being of individuals and their families. That is why CBM Australia is working with local partners in Indonesia on a project supporting people with mental health conditions.

The project provides access to quality mental health services and raises awareness of mental health conditions in the community – helping to reduce stigma and increase understanding of disability rights.

During the first phase of the project (2017-2021), 512 people with mental health conditions and their families were supported directly. Many more benefited indirectly. This included helping people with mental health conditions manage their mental health through access to support services, such as counselling, medical treatment, and training.

As a result, 84% of people said they could manage the symptoms of their mental health condition well, meaning they were less likely to miss important activities such as work and social events. The project also worked to reduce community stigma by raising awareness of mental health within the community.

This was achieved by:

  1. Working with the local government for better mental health prevention and treatment and having people with mental health conditions advise on the issues that matter to them.
  2. Producing mental health resources and training health workers – ensuring they are better equipped to assist people with mental health conditions.
  3. Promoting mental health through radio, television, and online platforms.
  4. Establishing and supporting Self-Help Groups to advocate for the rights of people with mental health conditions.

While discrimination is often deeply rooted in society, the community now has people with mental health conditions in leadership positions, including a schoolteacher and religious tutor. This indicates that attitudes are moving in the right direction.

And, for those of you that remember Desty and Hascaryo from some of our previous stories, you will be pleased to read that they are doing well and continuing to be strong leaders in the fight for the rights of people with mental health conditions.

We look forward to seeing how the project continues to support people with mental health conditions and their families throughout the second phase. Stay tuned!

CBM acknowledges the support of the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP).  

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