The Indonesian government has launched a hotline service to support people’s mental health needs during the coronavirus pandemic. Called the Psychological Services for Mental Health (Sejiwa), the program involves at least 162 volunteer psychologists from the Indonesian Psychology Association (HIMPSI) who will listen to the concerns of people with or without the coronavirus and refer them to at least 522 psychologists from across the country for further counseling. The service can be accessed via the National COVID-19 Hotline number — 119. “Sejiwa is very important because people are facing an uncertain situation. It has worsened because of false reports on social media. So, we have to take the initiative,” Presidential Chief of Staff Moeldoko said on April 29. According to Moeldoko, the pandemic has brought increased psychological distress within the population.
He cited data from the Legal Aid Foundation of the Indonesian Women’s Association for Justice which recorded 58 cases of physical and sexual violence, including domestic violence, from March 16-30. A combination of economic and social pressure brought on by the pandemic had dramatically increased the number of women and girls being subjected to abuse across the world, including Indonesia, he said. “A national psychological service is necessary to ensure the mental health of people is looked after,” Moeldoko added. Seger Handoyo, chairman of the HIMPSI, said the implementation of large-scale social-distancing restrictions had caused degrees of psychological distress. They include staying at home, bans on gatherings and limited public transport. Although initially imposed for 14 days, the government extended the restrictions period for another 28 days on April 22. “Some can cope with this crisis, some cannot. Those who suffer from any emotional disorder need help,” he said. Nursita Tyasutami, one of the first two Indonesians to contract Covid-19, said the service would play a significant role in taking care of people’s mental health. She said she was really shocked to learn she had tested positive for the coronavirus. Worse, she had to face the pressure of notoriety after her identity was revealed and received unwanted attention from the media and public. “I couldn’t handle it, even after I had recovered. But a psychologist who knew a friend of mine helped me deal with it,” she said.
Support UCA News...
As 2020 unfolds, we are asking readers like you to help us keep Union of Catholic Asian News (UCA News) free so it can be accessed from anywhere in the world at no cost.
That has been our policy for years and was made possible by donations from European Catholic funding agencies. However, like the Church in Europe, these agencies are in decline and the immediate and urgent claims on their funds for humanitarian emergencies in Africa and parts of Asia mean there is much less to distribute than there was even a decade ago.
Forty years ago, when UCA News was founded, Asia was a very different place - many poor and underdeveloped countries with large populations to feed, political instability and economies too often poised on the edge of collapse. Today, Asia is the economic engine room of the world and funding agencies quite rightly look to UCA News to do more to fund itself.
UCA News has a unique product developed from a view of the world and the Church through informed Catholic eyes. Our journalistic standards are as high as any in the quality press; our focus is particularly on a fast-growing part of the world - Asia - where, in some countries the Church is growing faster than pastoral resources can respond to - South Korea, Vietnam and India to name just three.
And UCA News has the advantage of having in its ranks local reporters that cover 22 countries and experienced native English-speaking editors to render stories that are informative, informed and perceptive.
We report from the ground where other news services simply can't or won't go. We report the stories of local people and their experiences in a way that Western news outlets simply don't have the resources to reach. And we report on the emerging life of new Churches in old lands where being a Catholic can at times be very dangerous.
With dwindling support from funding partners in Europe and the USA, we need to call on the support of those who benefit from our work.
Click here to find out the ways you can support UCA News. You can make a difference for as little as US$5...