Deepening ties with Indonesia in mental health
The 21st century is the century of the cities and of urbanisation. For the first time in history, more people globally live in cities than in rural areas. While in developed countries urbanisation has mainly taken place in the second half of the 19th century, developing countries, such as Indonesia are trying to cope with an unprecedented influx of millions of people into cities over the last 20 years.
While cities provide opportunity, rapid urbanisation presents enormous ecological, economic and social problems and risks, including homelessness. The link between homelessness and mental illness is well established and the Indonesian Government Ministry of Social Affairs is committed to improving services for homeless people who experience poor mental health.
In March 2013, AAMH and its partner Mind Australia - a leading community-managed psychosocial rehabilitation service, visited Jakarta for the official signing of a Letter of Intent with the Ministry of Social Affairs. The Letter of Intent aims to support the Ministry’s “Community-based Social Rehabilitation Program Development Plan for People with Mental Disability”.
The huge challenge for service development was highlighted in a visit to a large shelter for homeless people who suffer from mental ill-health. Almost 600 people (358 men and 233 women) live in basic accommodation, receiving meals and medical treatment. The shelter aims to reunite residents with their families and has a success rate of about 20%, however many people remain for years, or are transferred to generic shelters which have even less ability to provide targeted rehabilitation programs. The dedicated Director of the Shelter and her staff enthusiastically welcome the new possibilities arising from the partnership with Australia and the Ministry of Social Affairs.
This project, titled Sembuh: An Indonesia-Australia collaboration in community mental health is supported by the Australia-Indonesia Institute of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Indonesian NGO and Government Partnerships
In May 2011, key members of the only carer and consumer group, The Indonesian Mental Health Association (known as Perhimpunan Jiwa Sehat - PJS in Indonesian), visited Melbourne. Travelling with representatives from the Social Affairs Ministry, this group visited Clarendon Community Clinic, Footbridge Continuing Care Unit and the Acute Inpatient Unit and met with colleagues from St. Vincent’s Mental Health.
The group was led by Ms. Yeni Rosa Damayanti, carer and chair person of IMHA with Mr. Esa Sumatri, the Head of Sub-Directorate of Social and Rehabilitation Services for People with Mental Illness,
Ms. Eni Nuryani, head of sub-directorate of social welfare maintenance and assistance, ministry of social affair, Jakarta,
Ms. Retno, the head of Phalamarta Shelter, Rhino Ariefiansyah, Consumer Consultant, Ms. Wydia Lolita, Psychiatric nurse, and Mr. La Tatong, the head of Budi Luhur social rehabilitation shelter for people with mental illness, Banjar Baru, South Kalimanatan.
In Indonesia, it is important to note that mental health is the responsibility of both the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Social Affairs. AAMH Program Manager Mr. David Paroissien said that “it was extremely positive that representatives from the Ministry of Social Affairs felt it was important to come to Melbourne with Perhimpunan Jiwa Sehat to further develop their understanding of community mental health service delivery. In particular, it was important that the government representatives saw with their own eyes what is possible in community mental health services, and that it is worth pursuing for Indonesia.”
The group were invited to visit Melbourne by MIND and participated in Hearing Voices - a 4 day workshop on theory and practice of working with and talking to voices. This visit has planted a vision for the Government and NGO partnership in mental health. This kind of collaboration has the potential to enhance National and State Government Mental Health Plans, due to be completed in 2012 and for a concentrated, mutual effort to develop community services by maximising social welfare and NGO resources.
Indonesia-Australia Collaboration in Mental Health - 2007
In 2007, the Australia-Indonesia Institute sponsored a partnership between Asia-Australia Mental Health and the Indonesian Ministry of Health to facilitate two Indonesian psychiatrists (Dr Diding Sawaludin - Ministry of Health, Dr Hervita Diatri - University of Indonesia) to undertake community psychiatry training in Melbourne.
Building on this partnership, AAMH hosted key members of Indonesia’s mental health leadership in Melbourne in December 2007. During their visit, a Public Briefing was organised to discuss ways for Indonesia and Australia to collaborate in mental health. Representatives of the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing (DoHA) attended. Following this briefing, AAMH and DoHA were invited by the MInistry of Health to visit Jakarta to discuss further the possibility of collaboration. To see the outcomes of AAMH's subsequent visit to Jakarta, see our report [pdf, 150 kb, 11 pages].
Indonesia is also a key participant in the Asia-Pacific Community Mental Health Development project.
Front Row (L-R): Ms Julia Fraser (AAMH), Dr Yulizar Darwis (Immediate Past Director, Mental Health, Ministry of Health), Dr Dhashriati Ali (MOH), Dr Eka Viora (MOH), Dr Hervita Diatri (University of Indonesia, Australia-Indonesia Institute Fellowship awardee). Back Row (L-R): A/Prof. Chee Ng (AAMH), Dr Diding Sawaludin (MOH, Australia-Indonesia Institute Fellowship awardee), Dr Andrew Mohanraj (CBM International), Mr Graeme Doidge (St. Vincent's Mental Health), Mr Steve Fisher (BasicNeeds).