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Brothers lay bare mental health issues

Seminar seeks to raise awareness, remove stigma surrounding sufferers

Mental health patients play angklung, a traditional musical instrument, at the seminar Mental health patients play angklung, a traditional musical instrument, at the seminar
  • Robertus Sutriyono, Purworejo
  • Indonesia
  • June 3, 2011
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A psychiatric home run by the Brothers of Charity in Purworejo district, Central Java, held a seminar yesterday on mental health disorders, to raise awareness and garner sympathy among the public for people suffering from mental illnesses.

About 250 people representing local parishes, NGOs, Islamic schools and educational institutions attended the seminar in the hall of a senior high school managed by the brothers.

“The seminar aimed at garnering as many people as possible to pay more attention to those suffering from mental illness,” Charity Brother Bartolomeus Gulan Murtono, director of Panti Sahabat Kita (Home For our Friends), said.

The seminar also aimed at removing a stigma borne by mental health patients, he added.

“Many people feel embarrassed, because mental health patients are regarded with disdain,” he continued.

“Such negativity should not be aimed at mental health patients,” said Doctor Yohanes Kristiyanto from a state-run hospital in the district.

He said one in five people will suffer some sort of mental disorder during their lives.

“It can result from intense pressure, lack of motivation, failure to adapt, lack of vitality, and a weak personal character,” he added.

One participant, Eta Fithriyah, thanked the brothers for organizing the event.

“It made me realize that many people around us need some sort of counseling. People and families should pay more attention to mental health sufferers. If not, those suffering suffer more by being ignored,” she said.

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