Building Cross-Sector Support for Individuals with Psychosocial Disabilities

Posted on February 27, 2024 by Admin

Individuals with psychosocial disabilities in Indonesia continue to face various barriers to acceptance and active participation in society. Negative stigma and a lack of public awareness regarding their condition have the potential to result in discriminatory treatment and even violence.

In response to this, the Ministry of Law and Human Rights (Kemenkumham) organised a national seminar “Fulfillment of Rights and Protection of People with Psychosocial Disabilities from Violence”. The event was jointly organised by Kemenkumham, INKLUSI Partner YAKKUM, and the Government of the Special Region of Yogyakarta, with the support of the Australia-Indonesia Partnership Towards an Inclusive Society (INKLUSI) and CBM Indonesia. 

The seminar, coinciding with the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, International Day of Persons with Disabilities, and the 75th Anniversary of Human Rights Day, aimed to garner commitment from policymakers and stakeholders to provide increased support for this vulnerable group.

The series of events were officially inaugurated by the Minister of Women Empowerment and Child Protection of the Republic of Indonesia on December 18, 2023, at the Ministry of Law and Human Rights office in Jakarta. The forum was attended by the Governor of the Special Region of Yogyakarta, the Chairperson of the National Commission on Human Rights, the Chairperson of the National Commission on Violence Against Women, representatives from relevant ministries, experts, journalists, activists, and representatives of individuals with psychosocial disabilities.

The discussion sessions focused on formulating strategic recommendations to government to create an environment truly supportive of individuals with psychosocial disabilities. Steps recommended for government action included drafting and implemeting necessary local regulations, creating and adequate funding of rehabilitation and public literacy programs, and social change solutions to eliminate the deeply rooted negative stigma in society.

“Cross-sector collaboration is crucial in realising community-based mental health services without stigma and discrimination,” said Vensya Sitohang, Director of Mental Health at the Ministry of Health, Indonesia.

Furthermore, it was emphasised that systemic support from various sectors is essential to create a disability-friendly ecosystem for psychosocial disabilities. This support ranges from policies at both the national and regional levels, public awareness initiatives, to the role of religious and traditional leaders in educating local communities on this specific issue. Through strategic collaboration among these various elements, it is hoped that individuals with psychosocial disabilities can enjoy their rights and reintegrate productively into social life.

“We need to address vulnerability and power imbalances by highlighting and reconstructing experiences from the perspective of those with psychosocial disabilities, so they can fully access their rights,” concluded Yeni Rosa Damayanti, Chairperson of the Mental Health Association (PJS).

It is hoped that this national seminar will serve as a milestone for closer collaboration between the government, civil society, and the private sector in realizing a truly inclusive Indonesia – a nation where all its citizens live with dignity and contribute their maximum potential, including those with psychosocial disabilities.

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