Mental Disorders Increase Due to Pandemic

Director of Prevention and Control of Mental Health and Drug Problems at the Ministry of Health, Celestinus Eigya Munthe, said the COVID-19 pandemic situation had caused an increase in mental health disorders in the form of depression by up to nine percent.

“We see an increase in health problems due to depression and anxiety, which in the study had a figure of around 6-9 percent for depression and anxiety.” worry which means that there is also an increasing trend due to depression in suicide problems,” he said in a press teleconference “World Mental Health Day 2021” in Jakarta, Wednesday (6/10).

An officer pulls a box containing a coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine at a health center for a mass vaccination program, in Jakarta, January 13, 2021. (Photo: Willy Kurniawan/Reuters)

An officer pulls a box containing a coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine at a health center for a mass vaccination program, in Jakarta, January 13, 2021. (Photo: Willy Kurniawan/Reuters)

This situation, he continued, was exacerbated by the increasing difficulty of the community to access mental health services due to economic problems. The Ministry of Health noted that there are 24 million workers from the informal sector in the country who have lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Based on a report from the World Health Organization (WHO) in Mental Health Action Plan In 2013-2030, he said, especially developing countries must improve the planning of mental health services properly. This is because as many as 80 percent of developing countries still do not have a good mental health service plan, then as many as 50 percent of developing countries have not fulfilled the aspects of human rights (HAM) in practicing mental health services. Therefore, Indonesia, said Celestinus, is targeting 20 percent of people with severe mental disorders (ODGJ) to receive mental health services in all health care facilities by 2022.

“And we will also try to reduce the suicide rate by 10 percent in 2022, and we will create a system in an effort to collect data on mental health indicators,” he said.

Heavy Challenge

In realizing this target, Celestinus admits that there are various obstacles, including the high prevalence rate of people with mental disorders (ODGJ) in Indonesia where one in five residents or 20 percent of the population in the country has the potential to experience mental health problems.

Furthermore, until this moment not all provinces have mental hospital facilities which result in treatment gaps between one region and another, negative stigma and discrimination from the community to ODGJ, and the limited availability of mental health personnel.

People with mental disorders wait for a COVID-19 swab sample test at a social institution in Jakarta, August 23, 2021. (REUTERS/Ajeng Dinar Ulfiana)

People with mental disorders wait for a COVID-19 swab sample test at a social institution in Jakarta, August 23, 2021. (REUTERS/Ajeng Dinar Ulfiana)

“Until today, the number of psychiatrists as professionals for our mental health services only has 1,053 people. This means that one psychiatrist serves about 250 thousand people, this is a big burden in an effort to improve mental health services in Indonesia,” he said.

Access to Mental Health Services to the Grassroots

In an effort to improve mental health services in the community, the government has also taken several steps, namely focusing on recovering ODGJ, seeking to improve the health and welfare of ODGJ, seeking community-based active participation, partnerships and empowerment for ODGJ so that in the future they can still be productive despite experiencing mental health disorders and improve mental health. access to mental health services for the community down to the grassroots starting from the puskesmas.

“Currently there are around 10 thousand health centers throughout Indonesia and only 6,000 health centers that provide mental health services. For this reason, we will strive so that puskesmas throughout Indonesia can provide mental health services so that all levels of society can receive mental health services when they need it. For this reason, we seek a strategy to increase the competence of health workers in health facilities at the first level in existing health centers so that they can provide mental health services for the community at the puskesmas. We will also try to make medicines for mental health problems always available at the puskesmas facilities,” he explained.

Director of Prevention and Control of Mental Health and Drug Problems at the Ministry of Health Celestinus Eigya Munthe in a press teleconference at the

Director of Prevention and Control of Mental Health and Drug Problems at the Ministry of Health Celestinus Eigya Munthe in a press teleconference at the “World Mental Health in 2021” event, Wednesday (4/10) said mental health disorders increased during the pandemic (V

The Ministry of Health, said Celestinus, will also strengthen services telemedicine to serve people with mental health problems. With the development of this technology, it is expected to be able to get around various limitations of facilities and infrastructure to support and support this mental health service.

“So by using digital technology that currently exists, we hope that the limited human resources, mental health workers, can be circumvented by using existing technology, namely telemedicine in providing consultation and assistance for puskesmas that provide mental health services in the community,” he concluded.

Community Perspective

The psychologist of the Pulih Foundation, Ika Putri Dewi, said that the government should socialize more about the importance of mental health to the community. The reason is, there are still many who take it for granted.

“But even more fundamentally, this perspective on mental health has not been considered as important as physical health by ordinary people, so that what still needs to be encouraged is how to socialize that whole human beings (must be healthy) physically and mentally and both must be equal. have the same portion to be treated, not only taking care of physical health but (also) caring for mental health, because we know mental health disorders are gradual, gradual, little by little from mild to serious, if not treated,” he told Mouab.

Even so, he saw that with the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more people were paying more attention to their mental health. In fact, he said that many young people come to the puskesmas to check mental health services without a referral. This means that there is an awareness to take care of themselves if it is felt that they have experienced mental health disorders.

A health worker talks with a woman behind a plastic shield to prevent the transmission of the coronavirus at a health center in Yalimo, Papua Province, April 21, 2020. (Photo: AP)

A health worker talks with a woman behind a plastic shield to prevent the transmission of the coronavirus at a health center in Yalimo, Papua Province, April 21, 2020. (Photo: AP)

In addition, he appreciated the government’s steps to expand the scope of mental health services, especially for the primary level or puskesmas because this is still lacking. As a preventive measure, he hopes that the Ministry of Health can work together with the Ministry of Education and Culture to provide a mental health-based curriculum.

“For example, if there is physical education and sports, it is also necessary to have a curriculum for mental health, such as how to take care of yourself. So habits like that are instilled from an early age, given such awareness, including if schools can reach children, parents, it can be a way of instilling habits for care with our mental health, and it must be from as early as possible,” he concluded. [gi/ka]

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