Civic engagement and mental health system strengthening in Indonesia: a qualitative examination of the views of health professionals and national key stakeholders

Irmansyah, Irman, Susanti, Herni, James, Karen, Lovell, Karina ORCID logoORCID:, Idaiani, Sri, Imah, Soimah, Hargiana, Giur, Keliat, Budi-Anna, Utomo, Bagus, Colucci, Erminia ORCID logoORCID: and Brooks, Helen ORCID logoORCID: (2020) Civic engagement and mental health system strengthening in Indonesia: a qualitative examination of the views of health professionals and national key stakeholders. BMC Psychiatry, 20 (1) , 172. pp. 1-15. ISSN 1471-244X [Article] (doi:10.1186/s12888-020-02575-3)

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Background: Mental health services in Indonesia are developing rapidly in response to national and global health policy to support people living with psychosis. This presents a unique opportunity for civic engagement, the active involvement of patients, carers and communities in mental health care, to shape emergent services. In-depth explorations of the views of professionals and other key stakeholders in mental health care on the use of civic engagement in Indonesia are lacking which contributes to a limited understanding of its potential in this regard. The study aimed to explore contemporary professionals’ and other key stakeholders’ perspectives on the current use of and potential for civic engagement to strengthen mental health systems in Indonesia.

Methods: Qualitative interviews were undertaken and analysed using thematic analysis underpinned by a critical realist approach. Eighteen multi-disciplinary professionals and lay health workers involved in mental health care in Jakarta and Bogor and 10 national key stakeholders were recruited.

Results: Despite high levels of awareness of and support for civic engagement amongst mental health professionals and policy makers combined with a nascent grass roots movement, analysis revealed unstructured and insufficient mechanisms for civic engagement which resulted in ad-hoc and mostly superficial levels of involvement activity. Civic engagement was thought to require a marked shift in existing practices as well as organisational and societal cultures. Challenging stigma is a key feature of civic engagement and our analysis highlights the relevance of social contact methods which are locally and culturally contextualised in this regard. Our findings point to a need to expand current definitions of civic engagement which focus on indivdiual enablement to ones that also encompass environmental and organisational enablement to optimise the future use of civic engagement in mental health settings.

Conclusions: Key mental health stakeholders have identified that central aspects of Indonesian culture are well aligned to the ethos of civic engagement which has the potential to facilitate the enactment of recent global health policy. However, full realisation is likely to be impeded by prevailing paternalistic cultures in mental health services and high levels of stigma and discrimination towards those with mental illness in Indonesia without intervention.

Item Type: Article
Keywords (uncontrolled): Research Article, Social psychiatry, therapy and provision of mental health care, Civic engagement, Implementation, Indonesia, Low- and middle-income countries, Mental health, Patient and public involvement
Research Areas: A. > School of Science and Technology > Psychology
Item ID: 30337
Notes on copyright: © The Author(s) 2020. Open Access
This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit
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Depositing User: Jisc Publications Router
Date Deposited: 08 Jun 2020 16:04
Last Modified: 09 Feb 2022 10:37

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