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Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP)

Building inclusive communities in Indonesia

One of the most challenging barriers to building inclusive communities can be tackling stigma attached to mental illness. In the advent of COVID-19, people experiencing existing mental health concerns faces further stigma when trying to access health services, medication or support networks. Lockdowns made accessing this support much harder and poverty and isolation have exacerbated mental illness.

Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP) NGO CBM and its partner organisations work hard to support people experiencing mental illness to challenge the existing attitudes to mental illness. CBM’s community mental health project in Yogyakarta, Indonesia is a good example of how ANCP continues to contribute to strengthening health security for people with mental health concerns. The project encourages local young people to become advocates for improving the community perception of mental illness. Work which has continued during COVID-19, with events going virtual. 

Desty is a young woman with a psychosocial disability who is involved with this project. Last year, she presented at several online public forums including the #MoveforMentalHealth campaign and the Knowledge Sector Initiative Exchange presentation on the role of Organisations for People with Disabilities in post COVID-19 development.

As well as being active in her local community, new ways of working due to COVID-19 meant she was part of the virtual official celebrations for the International Day for Persons with Disabilities. The year saw some amazing personal achievements for Desty however her impact is far greater; other colleagues connected through the project want to follow her lead and speak up for and support others with mental illness.

Through the ANCP partnership, CBM will continue to support the recovery of people with mental illness – who are especially vulnerable in the COVID-19 pandemic – and continue to ensure no one is left behind. ‍

Teacher in a classroom with students
Desty running a session before the COVID-19 pandemic commenced. Credit: CBM.
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