Saturday, June 22, 2024 | 08:06 WIB

Mental health, a universal human right

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Jakarta, IO – World Mental Health Day is commemorated on 10 October each year. This year’s theme, “Mental Health is Universal Human Right”, emphasizes that mental health is a basic and universal human right, no exception. Anyone must be able to obtain the best or highest mental health service that they can achieve or work on. No specific mental condition is grounds for denying access to any mental health service that a person may need, or for denying a person’s rightful freedom and independence to determine the kind of mental health service they undertake. 

“Mental health is a universal right for all mankind, wherever, whenever, and whoever they may be. There is the saying that “No physical health without mental health”. Health is a matter of wholeness: it is not just a physical matter, but also a psychological one. A healthy soul is present when we live well, our body functions well, and there are no symptoms in either, which allows us to achieve a good and productive quality of life,” declared dr. Arundhati “Arun” Nugrahaning Aji, Sp.KJ(K), from the dr. Soeharto Heerdjan Mental Hospital, West Jakarta, in the “Mental Health is a Universal Human Right” talk show held on Monday (9/10/2023). 

However, according to the WHO obtaining proper mental healthcare is not easy. In fact, 700,000 people die because of suicide every year. Suicide is a complete mixture of impulsiveness, daringness, desperation, and deliberation. A lot of the people who attempted it tried again until they were successful. Suicidal tendency is one of the many conditions in the mental problem spectrum with complex causes that include thought, emotional, or behavioral patterns; medical condition; the consumption of substances that trigger anxiety and depression. Mental disorders may happen at any age stage, from childhood, teenage, adulthood, to elder-hood. 

“We recently hear a lot about children suffering from mental problems, and they were even rumored to have killed themselves. This is a dire issue, as mental health during childhood is extremely important for their cognitive and emotional development into adulthood. What we need to understand is that many factors affect, and contribute to, mental health or lack of it – biological, psychological, social, environmental, and in the Indonesian context – religious factors. However, we need to remember that proper diagnosis can only be made by a trained psychologist or psychiatrist, and that we should not self-diagnose. On the contrary, we need to contact health workers, the sooner the better. The sooner we get professional help, a new perspective, the sooner we avoid suffering from mental disorders,” dr. Arun said. 

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Even though individuals suffering from mental disorders require assistance, it is very important to their nearest persons to remember to help themselves first. “Don’t get carried away, because we might end up getting depressed ourselves. If we don’t have the capacity to handle the patient, take them to a psychologist or psychiatrist. All psychiatric disorders are basically bio-psycho-social condition that require medication. Please go to the nearest available health facility before they become a common burden for everyone, because a psychiatrist will also treat the people surrounding the patient,” dr. Arun said. 

Separately, dr. Tribowo Tuahta Ginting, Sp.KJ(K), psychiatrist from the Persahabatan Central General Public Hospital, declared in the “Lifestyle that can Affect Mental Health” talk show on Tuesday (10/10/2023) that an unhealthy lifestyle, including the individual’s inability to organize time properly, will affect the person’s overall health, including their mental health. “We have to maintain a good balance between working for money and activities for your personal care and for maintaining relations with family and friends. Life requires balance on all fronts – lack of balance will affect your physical and mental condition. This is doubly true for people who live a sedentary lifestyle, as it has a high potential of triggering the cortisol hormone that causes anxiety and/or depression,” dr. Tribowo said. 

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He further emphasizes the importance of having sufficient sleep of at least 8 hours a day: “A proper night’s sleep recovers you from fatigue. According to multiple studies, if you sleep only five hours a day, that means that are components in our body, including the brain, that will not regenerate completely. If it happens continuously, it would cause mental disorders in the future,” dr. Tribowo said. 

Finally, dr. Arun suggested relaxation breathing through the nose as a first aid step for people who suffer from anxiety or nervous attacks: “Take a deep breath for 3 counts, then hold it in for 1, 2, 3 counts, then exhale slowly. Do this several times until the panic attack subsides,” she said. (est)

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