Small Business, Big Impact: supporting mental health in Indonesia

Mental-health, Stories | April 24, 2024

Work is a big part of our lives. Not only does it help put food on the table, but it gives us a sense of purpose and contributes to our mental well-being. For people with mental health conditions like Asma, this sense of purpose can be life changing!

In 2004, Asma’s life changed dramatically when she lost her husband in the Indonesian tsunami. Struggling with trauma, she began having delusions, accusing others of taking her husband.

Asmas’ family were deeply concerned for her wellbeing but did not know what to do. So, for many years, when Asma would lash out and act violently, her family felt they had no other option than to restrain her in a room. They did not want her to hurt herself or anyone else and believed restraining her was the best choice.

Eventually, Asma was seen to by a mental health nurse who recommended staff from a CBM supported project visit Asma for a mental health assessment. Following Asma’s assessment, project staff and the mental health nurse recommended that the family take Asma to the hospital so she could get the care she needed.

While in hospital, project staff talked to Asma’s family about re-opening their small business – a kiosk selling food and drinks that they had been forced to shut because of a lack of money. Project staff told Asma’s family that they could support the business re-opening by providing some funds for them to buy stock.

Since leaving hospital, Asma has re-opened the kiosk with the support of her family and the CBM project. Working at the kiosk keeps her busy and has given her a sense of purpose. This has helped improve her mental health so much that she has not relapsed for six months!

Helping people with disabilities get training and jobs is all part of CBMs holistic efforts to improve mental health in Indonesia.

To learn more about how we approach mental health in Indonesia, read ‘A Better Way to Address Mental Health.’

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


Asma standing next to a kiosk

Image caption: This Kiosk is not just helping provide an income for Asma and her family. It keeps her busy, gives her a sense of purpose, and has helped improve her mental well-being.

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