Batam, an island where the government plans to adopt China’s strategy to attract global investment by building a special economic zone is home to an increasing amount of people with various kinds of mental illness, a problem that will only worsen as the global economy plunges into crisis, an official has said.
The crisis, which affects global demand for Indonesian goods, has led to massive layoffs of industrial workers in the island. Such conditions, the official said, is triggering more psychological disorders.
To make matters worst, the island has no dedicated treatment center to cater to the growing number of affected.
“So far, treatment for mental patients is far from appropriate. This is because Batam has no mental institution or psychiatric hospital,” head of Batam Social Affairs and City Funeral Department Syuzairi said.
Apart from the layoffs, the fact that Batam served as a transit city for immigrant workers traveling to and from Malaysia and Singapore also contributes to the growing number of people with mental disorders, Syuzairi said.
“There is so much stress for people in Batam, whether they are those deported from abroad or those working in Batam,” he said.
It was important for the island to have a decent treatment center, he added without giving the exact estimate of the number of official and potential patients.
“Most patients here are treated by regular hospitals. Because the hospitals cannot give further treatment, they send the patients back to their families,” he said. (and)