Indonesia: Get Happy Campaign Fights Stigma on Mental Illness

Posted on September 16, 2016

Traditionally in Indonesia, many people with psychosocial disabilities are confined to their homes, some even in shackles. Although shackling was banned in the late 1970s, a recent study from Human Rights Watch (HRW) estimated that around 19,000 people with mental problems are still confined at home or at unofficial institutions where they face very high risk of abuse.

Clinical psychologist Wulan Danoekoesoemo said many Indonesians choose not to seek help from mental health professionals because they do not want to be labeled as "crazy."

The country currently only has 800 psychiatrists and 48 mental hospitals — this in a country of 250 million people. Combine that with a deep-seated stigma against mental illness, it is no wonder that many Indonesian with mental illness are often left alone and untended.

"A lot of people are suffering in silence and unable to ask for the help they need because of the taboo and stigma surrounding mental illness," Caecilia Tedjapawitra, one of Get Happy’s co-founders, told the Jakarta Globe recently. "We believe providing free access to mental health education can help reduce the stigma."

Caecilia said the idea to form Get Happy stemmed from a genuine concern about the widespread misunderstanding of mental illness. She said, "It’s easy for people to understand physical illness; people can see if you have a broken leg or need stitches. But it’s much harder to understand an illness you cannot see."

he group's most recent workshop featured an advertising agency executive talking about creative thinking and finding new ways to express yourself. Other workshops have featured zen doodling, drumming exercises and vocal jamming.

Click on link below to read the full article

Category(s):Mental Health in Asia

Source material from Jakarta Globe

Mental Health News