Everybody knows that health is important. Some even say that health can’t be bought or traded.

Health comprises two categories, physical health and mental health. But two of them should not be separated. Poor mental health can impact negatively on our body and poor physical health can impact negatively on our mind too. They are like two sides of the same coin.

Did you know that there are 260 million people live in Indonesia, but according to Riset Kesehatan Dasar (Riskesdas) Kementerian Kesehatan Indonesia (Research of Basic Health by the Ministry of Health), there are only 773 psychiatrists? It means, a psychiatrist has to handle around 300,000 to 400,000 people. Indonesia also lacks clinical psychologists as there are only 1,143 clinical psychologists (according to the Association of Clinical Psychologists or Ikatan Psikologi Klinis as of May 2019).

Why is this happening? It’s because most people in Indonesia don’t think that mental health is crucial. They don’t talk about it. They think it is a ‘taboo’ which has to be hidden. Some people don’t even think such a thing exists. Instead, they believe people with mental illness are possessed by demons or magic.

According to Riskesdas, there are 14 million teenagers in Indonesia showing signs of depression and anxiety in 2013. Then in 2015, there were at least 812 suicide cases all over Indonesia.

For all the cases that happen in Indonesia, only 43% gets medication. Even 15% is exiled, whether they are thrown out of the house or chained. We cannot let this problem persists.

Let’s talk more about how important mental health is, and what we can do about it.

What Is Mental Health
Mental health is categorized by emotional, psychological and social well being that affect how we think, feel and act.
Mental health can determine how well people handle stress, relate to others and make choices.Mental illness can be defined as a health condition that changes a person’s thinking, feelings, or behavior (or all three) and causes the person difficulty in functioning in life.

Warning Signs
If you are not sure about someone or you having a mental illness or just mental health problem, these are the early warning signs that could indicate a problem, according to the Mental Health Government:

  • Eating or sleeping too much or too little
  • Pulling away from people and usual activities
  • Having low or no energy
  • Feeling numb or like nothing matters
  • Having unexplained aches and pains
  • Feeling helpless or hopeless
  • Smoking, drinking or using drugs more than usual
  • Feeling unusually confused, forgetful, on edge, angry, upset, worried, or scared
  • Yelling or fighting with family and friends
  • Experiencing severe mood swings that cause problems in relationships
  • Having persistent thoughts and memories you can’t get out of your head
  • Hearing voices or believing things that are not true
  • Thinking of harming yourself or others
  • Inability to perform daily tasks such as taking care of your kids or getting to work or school

What Can You Do About It
If someone you know is showing signs of having a mental illness, you can do things like showing them respect and acceptance. Learning more about their mental health could allow you to provide helpful support.

Remember there are always hope and help.

Author: Aileen Velishya
Editor: Elga Theresia

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