The service was launched through a videoconference in which the participating parties comprised Chief of the Presidential Staff Office Moeldoko, Minister of Communication and Informatics Jhonny G. Plate, Minister of Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection Anak Gusti Ayu Bintang Darmavati, Chairman of the Task Force for Acceleration of COVID-19 Handling Doni Monardo, representative from the Ministry of Health, Telkom chairman, Indonesian Psychologists Association, and Indonesia’s first patient who recovered from COVID-19.
"The SEJIWA service is very important, as the public is currently facing uncertain times owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, and matters tend to further worsen with the presence of social media that can be misleading at times. Hence, we need to take initiatives," he remarked during the launch of SEJIWA in Jakarta, Wednesday.
He further noted that the Presidential Staff Office’s initiative to offer psychological services to the public had earlier been brought up during a limited meeting with President Joko Widodo. During the time, the president had given the green light for the office to proceed, which then led to the launch of SEJIWA.
Moeldoko pointed to the threat of psychological pressure that was apparent from the large number of reported complaints of domestic violence.
Based on data from the Indonesian Women's Association for Justice (APIK) legal aid agency, a total of 59 cases of rape, sexual harassment, and online pornography were reported on March 16-30, 2020. Among these cases, 17 were cases of domestic violence, and they did not only take place in Indonesia.
"On April 5 2020, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres stated that the rising social and economic pressure owing to the COVID-19 pandemic had led to a spike in the number of cases of domestic violence on women and children," he stated.
He reaffirmed the need to exercise caution while dealing with COVID-19, though steering clear from falling into the trap of fear, anxiety, and stress.
"As a concrete step to mitigate this problem, the office believed that a national psychological service, SEJIWA, is the pressing need of the hour for the public. I would like to seize the opportunity to thank all parties involved," Moeldoko stated.
He further explained that the service is the government’s endeavor to protect its citizens, one of which is through maintaining mental health through counseling and education services for people affected by COVID-19.
"Hence, today we launch SEJIWA. With this name SEJIWA, the people would hopefully embody the same spirit to work together in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic," he emphasized.
The public can access the SEJIWA psychological assistance services by calling the 119 ext. 8 hotline number. The 119 hotline service also offers community consultation services pertaining to COVID-19.
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