Suryani Institute for Mental Health
Suryani Institute for Mental Health is working to create a better mental health in Bali by providing free community services, freeing chained patients, and reducing the stigma surrounding mental illness.
SIMH is dedicated to creating a healthy and happy community on the Island of Bali. Through our academic, medical and psychiatric, educational, and social work programs, we strive to help the Balinese people grow in intellect, independence, and creativity, and to become healthier physically, psychologically, socially, and spiritually.
We follow a holistic approach that we call the biopsycho-spirit-sociocultural model, combining western psychiatric/psychological mainstream paradigms (e.g. positive psychology) with Eastern and Balinese specific cultural and spiritual knowledge and beliefs. This approach recognizes the importance and interconnectedness of every person's mind (psychology), body (biology) and spirit, influenced by and in turn affect, both positively and negatively, one's sociocultural environment and religious and spiritual beliefs.
Summary of relevant work
Mental Health services currently existing in Bali consists almost exclusively of inpatient care, with a geographical focus in the Mental Hospital located in central Bali.
In 2005 SIMH conducted a survey of mental illness in the community in Bali, concluding that at least 9000 untreated patients were suffering from severe mental health conditions, of which around 300 were shackled. SIMH has since created a system of community services through which patients with severe mental health conditions are treated in their homes. As only two psychiatrists are involved in the organization, SIMH has recruited and trained field workers who had no previous formal medical training. These field workers are in continuous contact with both patients and psychiatrists in order to distribute the workload of the organization.
SIMH also offers group therapy sessions to handle depression and anxiety related problems in the community. Workshops on different themes are held regularly, often in collaboration with its sister organizations such as the Committee Against Sexual Abuse, the Bali Elderly Welfare Foundation and Suka Cita Foundation.
SIMH is dedicated not only to treatment, but also actively works with prevention of ill health and promotion of practices leading to psychological well-being, so the organization offers weekly meditation sessions free of charge.
Photo and film documentaries - Reducing the Stigma
Stigma surrounding mental health conditions is one of the most important factors restricting development of mental health care and services. In Bali, there is a general lack of interest in helping the people most in need of mental health resources. SIMH hopes to spread awareness of the problem and attract attention of supporters and officials, uncovering the reality of those experiencing severe mental health conditions ignored by the healthcare system through photography and documentary films. SIMH has produced a photographic exhibition and several films related to the situation of the mentally ill in Bali.