Satunama.org. Mental health is an important part of a person’s wellbeing. Despite its importance, provisions for care and treatment are often limited in developing countries. When attempting to access treatment in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, sufferers are faced with shortages of mental health specialists or facilities, cultural stigmas, and lack of knowledge. It has been suggested that the most effective way to bridge this gap is to integrate mental health treatment into primary care, however, there has been limited attempts at achieving this and there is much more that can be done to facilitate treatment for mental health conditions.
Additionally, research has shown that mental health literacy among university students is exceptionally low, which shows there is a huge gap in awareness and knowledge from a young age in Indonesia. Education from a young age would greatly assist in shifting cultural perceptions and mental health care access. There is a huge need for innovative mental health programs and organisations, improved education, and awareness programs in Indonesia.
Satunama’s mental health department, Rumah Pembelajaran Kesehatan Jiwa (RKPJ), Learning House of Mental Health in English, is one of the few organisations in Yogyakarta with programs directly helping those with mental health disabilities.
On the 3rd of November, RKPJ ran a collaborative group activity to encourage residents to consider and discuss their hopes and dreams for their futures. The activity was designed to encourage the residents to visualise their dreams and how they have, or will, make steps to achieve these. The participants demonstrated this by drawing a large tree on the paper and then writing their dreams on ‘leaves’ and attaching them to the tree.
Then, they wrote on another piece of paper the steps they have made towards these dreams, represented as the ‘fruit’ of the tree. It was beautiful to witness this come to life on the drawn tree. This activity helped the residents to visualise their personal dreams but also to see the interconnections with their peers who had similar dreams. The participants then joined a group discussion led by one of the caregivers, where they were able to share what they had written with the rest of the group. The act of setting goals and revisiting old visions has many benefits for an individual, such as developing new behaviours, guiding focus, and creating a positive environment through a sense of success and hope.
Additionally, there are huge benefits of group therapy for mental health treatment. Group activities provide mutual support, a place for individuals to express their hopes, worries and feelings. Group therapy also helps to promote social skills and provides a space for healing, which is hugely beneficial for the residents of RKPJ as they are preparing to enter society once again. For the residents of RKPJ, they are in the right place to achieve their life goals and dreams. [Contributor : Rachel Underwood/ACICIS Internship, Editor : A.K. Perdana, Photo : Rachel Underwood]