To fill the vacuum of mental health support for the Bali community, an association of 11 non-governmental organizations and communities in Bali are banding together to launch mental health and suicide prevention helpline
The helpline, dubbed the first of its kind in the province and is set for an official launch on April 6, is named Love Inside Suicide Awareness, or LISA.
The free service will be available for 12 hours a day for the first three months before it begins operating 24/7.
The organizations behind LISA are working together under Bali Bersama Bisa (BBB), which aims to promote physical, mental, and social well-being in the province.
This includes the food aid community Crisis Kitchen Bali, drug user recovery group Movement of Recovery (MOR) Project, Bali Bipolar Community, transgender community Gaya Dewata, and the Center for the Study of Gender, Sexuality and Human Rights (GSHR) in Udayana University, among others.
Nev Doidge, the founder of the MOR Project, told as cited from Coconuts that BBB, whose members are active in various outreach programs, has seen a notable increase in suicidal intentions in Bali during the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said that through mental health assessments conducted during BBB’s relief efforts in Bali between November and January, 25 out of 461 people reported having suicidal thoughts.
However, such numbers may not reflect the true reality as there persists a strong taboo surrounding mental health in the country, where being open about one’s mental health struggles is likely to lead to stigma and discrimination.
LISA, which currently has 30 trained volunteers, will initially be available in Indonesian, but is set to provide services in English soon, organizers said.
BBB said they are currently raising funds to support the operations of the helpline while working towards establishing a community center, which would house a food kitchen, counsel rooms, and space for support groups.