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Mental health issues that commonly plague Indonesians

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Like in many parts of the world, mental health issues continue to plague Indonesians today.

In fact, a recent survey by YouGov Omnibus, which involved 1,018 Indonesians, found that one in seven have experienced some form of mental health issue at any point in their life. The survey also revealed the two most commonly-faced mental health issues in the country to be – anxiety (69%) and depression (58%).

While this is so, just two in five (42%) take the step to seek professional help for it, an instance more likely in men (45%) than women (39%).

Affirming the seriousness of mental health issues, the survey also found that while 21% (or two in ten) of Indonesians “rarely” have suicidal thoughts, 6% still do experience them frequently. This is more prevalent not just in women (33% vs 22% in men), but also in younger locals aged between 18 to 24 (33% vs 20% of older Indonesians).

Further, a shocking 45% (two in five) of younger Indonesians involved in the survey have engaged in self-harm, while 7% have done so frequently.

Commenting on this, Jake Gammon, Head of Omnibus APAC, YouGov Omnibus said: “Many people with mental health issues suffer in silence, as seen by the significant amount of people who choose not to seek help.

“An alarming number of Indonesians experience damaging behaviour like suicidal thoughts and self-harm, particularly prevalent among young adults. We hope this survey sheds light on the topic of mental health, and how it affects people differently.”

Why do those who suffer not seek treatment?

As showcased in the survey, nearly half (46%) of Indonesians who never sought help for their mental health issues said it was because they were unsure of where to seek help. Cost concerns came in close behind as a deciding factor (45%), followed by about one in three revealing concerns about social stigma (33%).

That said, despite these concerns, a vast majority of Indonesians (91%) still do believe mental health should be taken as seriously as one’s physical health.

Apart from that, a majority also believe mental health treatment should be covered under insurance schemes. More importantly, nearly all (nine in 10) believe employees should be entitled to medical leave for any mental health issue.

With anxiety and depression being the two most common mental health issues in the country, it is time for employers to cater to this aspect of wellness?

Here are some recommended measures published in Human Resources Online for employers to consider if they want to build mental health care as part of their wellness value proposition.

1. Employee Assistance Programmes

An overwhelmingly large number of respondents in Australia (92%) are provided Employee Assistance Programmes – available to 34% of Singapore respondents, 39% of Hong Kong respondents, and 23% of China respondents. Chinese employees are most likely to have access to medical professionals as a first source of support, but this is closely followed by on-site counselling or assistance. [Read more]

2. Workplace adjustments such as flexi-work and supervisor training

To cater to people with or recovering from mental health conditions, certain workplace adjustments should be made. These include:

1. Access to counselling
2. Allowing for flexi-­work arrangements
3. Training for supervisors
4. Increased work support and supervision
5. Job redesign
6. Provision of general mental health education
7. Provision of assistive technology
8. Provision of health benefits

Employers surveyed perceived the cost of implementing seven out of eight workplace adjustments at S$608.80 per employee, per year. In fact, the actual cost of implementing these adjustments only come in at S$285.60 per employee, per year – less than half that of the perceived cost. [Read more]

3. Mental health framework

According to Aaron Harvey, Partner and Co-Founder at Ready Set Rocket, companies shouldn’t only deliver perks that foster a fun environment; they need to implement foundational reforms that encourage conversation and make mental health support accessible. The framework he uses involves six simple steps:

#1 Start the conversation
Inspire a company-wide dialogue about mental health, burnout and the warning signs of a potential crisis.

#2 Offer accommodations
Be willing to make reasonable adjustments to work schedules and responsibilities so employees battling mental illness have the opportunity to thrive.

#3 Commit to confidentiality
Implement a trustworthy system for disclosing a diagnosis and requesting support.

#4 Align physical and mental health benefits
Provide parity in benefits so mental health treatment is accessible and encouraged amongst staff.

#5 Fund wellness initiatives
Make well-being a fundamental component of company culture by investing in fun and relaxing community-building activities.

#6 Provide personalised growth plans
Give employees the structure and encouragement they need to feel valued by your organisation. [Read more]

Photo / YouGov Omnibus



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