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Self-guided psycho-social support for refugees in Indonesia.


Approximately 80% of refugees in Indonesia meet the diagnostic criteria for depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and anxiety. However, only approximately 1000 refugees currently have access to irregular psycho-social support with trained mental health professionals, even less that understand the specific issue impacting on mental health in refugee communities. In the 2nd half of 2017 UNCHR Indonesia began announcing to refugee communities they will not be resettled for many years if ever, rates of depression and hopelessness dramatically increase. Rates of attempted suicides are currently approximately 2 per month.

There is an urgent need to develop accessible and sustainable mental health programs and psycho-social support for refugees and asylum seekers. However, trained professionals with knowledge about refugee background, conflict, trauma and ongoing mental health issues are very low in number, and the ability to conduct treatment in refugee languages are lacking. In Indonesia there is still a huge stigma attached to mental health problems. Additionally, many people from refugee communities do not have the ability to leave the place they stay – many are in detention, or restricted to home because of cultural attitudes, child duties, lack of language to integrate outside their home, the stigma of being seen as a refugee, a lack of understanding of the problems they face, self-esteem problems and more.

Self-guided therapeutic workbooks have been proven to be affective in multiple contexts and are accessible to larger populations.  Additionally, trauma focused cognitive behavioural therapy and culturally adapted cognitive behavioural therapy has been proven to be effective among refugee populations globally.

We are currently working with trained counsellors to draft workbooks which will be available both on line and in hard copy, and translated to at least 5 languages.

We also plan to run group activities alongside the workbooks, including motivational talks and fun activities.


  • Create an ongoing system for identification, access, treatment, referrals, and advocacy for refugee mental health in Indonesia.
  • Develop capacity of local refugees and professionals to assist individuals experiencing mental illnesses.
  • Increase access to mental health services though the development of a self-guided support tool.
  • Advocate for increased awareness and access to support for refugee populations in Indonesia.