Encouraging Mental Health Literacy through Online Counseling Platforms
It is undeniable that the Covid-19 pandemic is one of the factors that trigger mental health problems for the Indonesian people. Based on a report from the Ministry of Health throughout 2020, as many as 18,373 people experienced anxiety disorders, more than 23,000 experienced depression, and 1,193 people attempted suicide.
The increasing awareness of the importance of mental health since the last few years has begun to be used by a number of startup actors to help connect the community with psychologists through technology.
Among them is the Kalbu platform which was founded by Founder & Chief Visionary Officer Iman Hanggaautomo because he was moved to improve mental health in Indonesia, especially for children.
In the #TuesdayStartup session, Iman presented various interesting insights regarding his efforts to introduce mental health literacy and reach out to people who need help.
Mental Health during Pandemic
Iman assessed that mental health was still considered a taboo among Indonesian people. It could be because mental health is not taught in the education system. According to him, the school sector is the right way to introduce it
“We are collaborating with schools to improve mental health literacy from an early age because these kinds of platforms cannot run alone. This is also what Kalbu is working on to make mental health a school curriculum,” he said.
Reflecting on the situation in recent years, Iman believes that mental health is starting to become one of the most frequently discussed issues. A number of cases that trigger mental disorders occurred during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Among them, said Iman, the divorce rate rose 15% so that there were many requests for counseling for couples. Then, parental violence against children increased by 42%.
Parents experience burnout due to work-from-home activities (WFH) which makes there is no boundary between working hours and time at home. Not to mention, they have to clean up the house and accompany school children (home learning). Mental children also drop.
“We must be successful in carrying out aspects of work, relationships, hobbies, and self-rewards so that life can be of quality. So don’t try to help yourself, seek professionals. The importance of this platform is so that people don’t self-diagnose. Mental health is not only for children, but also for children. parents,” he added.
More Effective and Optimal
In encouraging the use of online counseling platforms, Iman seeks to educate users and psychologists that online counseling is as optimal as conventional. One of them is through a number of educational programs, such as workshops.
From a psychologist’s point of view, online counseling can help those who have had limited access. It could be because the location is far and the price is more expensive when doing face-to-face counseling (offline).
With the support of technology, psychologists can hold online counseling sessions with users via video calls. According to Iman, counseling can be done by telephone, but it is less effective because psychologists cannot observe the user’s facial expressions and expressions.
“In conventional counseling, usually psychologists will explore problems. However, I see online counseling has its own effectiveness,” he said.
Users fill out a consent form when registering and they can fill in what the problem is. From there, psychologists find it easier to prepare solutions at the first meeting because they already have some kind of hints of the consent form.
From the user’s point of view, online counseling is more affordable and efficient because they don’t have to spend time on the road. Platform providers can reduce a number of costs so that the price of counseling can be cheaper. In other words, this platform allows anyone to use.
Despite its effectiveness, Iman sees that there are still obstacles when it comes to online counseling. Some of them are the potential for users to do other activities during the session (multitasking) making it difficult for them to focus.