Jakarta (ANTARA) - Director for mental health at the Health Ministry Vensya Sitohang has highlighted the need to include the treatment of self-inflicted injuries due to mental health issues in the Health Social Security Insurance (BPJS Kesehatan) coverage.

"At present, not all treatments of patients suffering from mental health issues are covered by BPJS Kesehatan, yet we hope it will be covered (by the insurance) gradually," she stated here on Thursday.

She pointed out that according to Presidential Regulation No. 82 of 2018 on health insurance, patients with mental disabilities are eligible for BPJS Kesehatan coverage for medical rehabilitation and psychological counseling, provided that a medical diagnosis of their condition is available.

Self-inflicted injuries due to mental health issues are yet to be covered by insurance though they can lead to suicide and death, the director noted.

Sitohang then highlighted the 2018 Basic Health Research report, which indicated that 19 million people over the age of 15 in Indonesia suffered from emotional and mental issues and 12 million of the population from the same age group suffered from depression.

The ministry report in 2016 also revealed that at least 1,800 people attempted suicide annually, and 47.7 percent of suicides were committed by teenagers and people in the productive age group of 10 to 39 years, she noted.

"Moreover, according to UNICEF data, there was an increase in suicide attempts among female teenagers from 4.8 percent to 6.2 percent in the 2007–2015 period, while the rate among male teenagers increased from 3.2 percent to 4.0 percent during the same period," the ministry director informed.

Considering the urgent need to protect more residents from self-inflicted injuries, the ministry has intensified coordination with BPJS Kesehatan to extend insurance coverage to treatment for suicide attempts, she confirmed.

The justification for the inclusion of self-inflicted injuries in BPJS Kesehatan coverage is that such behavior, which is mostly committed by persons with mental health issues, can cause death, she said.

"(It is surprising) that mental health issues and treatment for people with mental disabilities are covered (by BPJS Kesehatan), yet suicide attempts are not," Sitohang added.

The ministry will also draft a regulation to include the treatment of self-inflicted injuries in BPJS Kesehatan coverage, she said, adding that the process is expected to be complete by year-end or early 2023.

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Translator: Andi Firdaus, Nabil Ihsan
Editor: Azis Kurmala
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