BKKBN initiates mental health program at posyandus to reduce stunting – ANTARA News

BKKBN initiates mental health program at posyandus to reduce stunting – RMOL News –

Jakarta (RMOL) – The National Population and Family Planning Agency (BKKBN) has said that offering mental health programs through the integrated health post (posyandu) service could help reduce stunting prevalence, which is still pegged at 21.6 percent.

“The mental health program at the posyandu is in line with efforts to accelerate the reduction of stunting, which targets children under two years old and toddlers,” Head of the BKKBN Hasto Wardoyo said in an official statement received here on Tuesday.

The problem of mental-emotional disorders in Indonesia is currently highly concerning, he added. The incidence of teenagers suffering from mental-emotional disorders increased from 6.9 percent in 2013 to 9.8 percent in 2018.

This means that almost 10 out of 100 children suffer from mental disorders. Therefore, a program is needed to maintain the mental stability of mothers or expecting mothers from a young age so that any mental issues they experience do not interfere with parenting, affection, or lead to a lack of exclusive breastfeeding in the first 1,000 days of life (HPK), which can cause malnutrition in children, Wardoyo said.

A study has shown that 86 percent of pregnant women have the potential to experience postpartum stress. Then, four out of 10 mothers with baby blues experience prolonged depression, Wardoyo pointed out.

In view of this, posyandus, as the frontliners and closest guards in providing health services to pregnant, breastfeeding women, and toddlers, can provide an educational intervention model and help detect mental health disorders, he said.

To achieve this, BKKBN is holding a dialogue with the Indonesian Women’s Community Council (WIK), a women’s organization that has initiated the Mental Health Intervention Program at posyandus.

“Therefore, the program will be discussed at the expert meeting on June 17, 2023, and will be implemented through various programs to accelerate stunting reduction in Semarang city,” Wardoyo informed.

In addition, the founder of WIK, Maria Stefani Ekowati, said that currently, there has been an increase in cases of mental health disorders among pregnant and breastfeeding mothers.

She informed that six out of 10 breastfeeding mothers in Indonesiahave reported feeling unhappy. This usually shows up as an early sign of a mental health disorder, but antenatal care (ANC) services at posyandus do not include aspects of education and mental health interventions.

According to her, if posyandus can provide interventions, especially in the 1,000 HPK, by enhancing the knowledge and behavior of mothers related to maternal and child health, mothers can avoid stress that could impact their children’s health. Mental health education covers knowledge regarding nutrition, immunization, disease prevention, and healthcare.

“We can use the program because the mothers’ level of trust in posyandus is still very high. Posyandu counseling as the main source of information on maternal health reaches 89 percent,” she said. 

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