Volume 16, April 2010
St. Louis, Missouri, USA
Editor: Mohamed Ziauddin
In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent and the Most Merciful
MENTAL HEALTH IN INDONESIA
(CHRONIC MENTALLY ILL)
Mental patients take their lunch in front of their shelter at the Galuh foundation compound in East Bekasi, outskirt of Jakarta November 5, 2009. The Galuh foundation house has housed more than 288 underprivileged mental patients since it was founded in 1982 by Gendu Mulatip. The foundation give patients a shelter to stay, treat them with prayers and traditional medicine, and feed them vegetarian food. Most of them became mentally ill due to the poor economy, head nurse Suharyono said on Thursday. REUTERS/Beawiharta (INDONESIA HEALTH SOCIETY)
Head nurse Suharyono (L) brings in a man suffering from mental illness shortly after finding him at a street in East Bekasi, outskirt of Jakarta November 5, 2009. REUTERS/Beawiharta (INDONESIA SOCIETY HEALTH)
The chronic and severely mentally ill are a very vulnerable group of people who are unable to function normally like others in the general population to lead a productive and satisfactory quality of life. We believe that the Government, Public and Private Organizations and Muslims in general should strive to do more than what they are currently doing to assist the mentally ill. For those who are unable to help the mentally ill, the least they can do is at least to avoid the unfortunate stigmatization of the mentally ill.
A mental patient named Totok reacts during a relax therapy session at the Galuh foundation compound in East Bekasi, outskirt of Jakarta November 5, 2009. REUTERS/Beawiharta (INDONESIA HEALTH SOCIETY)
We realize the economical, technological limitations and other realities "on the ground" of Muslim Governments that may impair their ability to help the mentally ill. One way to reduce such impairment is to give higher priority to such a vulnerable group and increased co-operation and co-ordination with other entities that are specialized in helping the mentally ill.
Mental patients stand in front of their shelter at the Galuh foundation compound in East Bekasi, outskirt of Jakarta November 5, 2009. REUTERS/Beawiharta (INDONESIA SOCIETY HEALTH)
Below is a condensed version of an article that briefly enlightens about Mental Health Care for the severely mentally ill in Indonesia.
Improving Mental Health Care in Indonesia
Director of Mental Health, Indonesia
"Psychiatry is a neglected branch of medicine in Indonesia".
He shared his views publicly in a recent article he authored for The International Journal of Mental Health Systems.
His particular interest in community mental health services developed during a research project early in his career. “I went to a rural area looking for patients with schizophrenia. Some had been restrained for years. That was not every schizophrenic’s fate, but it wasn’t unusual,” says Irmansyah. “I also interviewed people who had struggled to take care of a family member with schizophrenia. hat encouraged me were families that wanted to let the patient get services, and learn how to take care of them better.”
Photo by Saichu Anwar, courtesy of Photoshare
As Indonesia’s new director of mental health, Dr. Irmansyah advocates for the mentally ill in a country with minimal community services and less than 500 psychiatrists for a population of 230 million.
Irmansyah led a team that studied the genetics of siblings with schizophrenia. The researchers developed family-based interventions and supported a nascent Indonesian Mental Health Association for people with mental illness and their families. When Irmansyah returned to the University of Indonesia in Jakarta after his fellowship, he was elected chair of the psychiatry department. That position, as well as his work in disaster relief in Aceh after the 2004 tsunami, brought him to the attention of the Ministry of Health.
His Harvard mentor, Dr. Byron Good, says Irmansyah has a deep commitment to building a community-based mental health system able to provide evidence-based psychiatric care. “His appreciation for both basic science and implementation research, his strategic vision and his desire to give a voice to Indonesians suffering from mental illness and their families, makes him a wonderful selection to serve as director of mental health. The Fogarty International Center can be proud of the role it played in his evolution as a leader in Indonesian psychiatry.”
Human rights of persons with mental illness in Indonesia: more than legislation is needed. Irmansyah I, Prasetyo YA, Minas H. International Journal of Mental Health Systems 19 June 2009, 3:14.