Mental Health Service in Educational Institutions

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Challenges for students keep increasing, some of them are competition to get highest achievement possible, easy yet risky access to information which makes students need to be smart in selecting information and others. Meanwhile, family members at home also focus more on physical need achievement and reduce sense of togetherness and emotional connection among family members. Educational institutions as a parenting and educational institution, have to increase their roles in paying attention to their students’ mental health.

Law of The Republic Of Indonesia Number 18 of 2014 about Mental Health and the Indonesian Minister of Research, Technology and Higher Education Regulation Number 46 of 2017 about Special Education and Special Service Education in Higher Institutions state that educational institutions must provide mental health service and improve access to and the quality of special service for students who have problems in keeping up with learning process due to physical, emotional, mental, social or intellectual limitations and special gifts.

A doctoral dissertation by Theresia Indira Shanti titled “The influence of Psychosocial Support on Academic Performance” (Nijmegen Catholic University – Netherlands, 2017) is an answer to the need. This research was conducted to 327 first-year students (34.9% male and 65.1% female) in X University with probability sampling technique. The results found that supports from parents, friends, institutions (in this case: universities) have primary roles in influencing students’ emotions and motivation. These emotional condition and motivation will then affect their academic achievements. This study shows that intervention to make students feel supported by parents, friends and institutions is needed. In line with Law of Republic of Indonesia Number 18 of 2014, this invention should be applied in preventive, curative and promotive actions.

As a follow-up of this research, another study was conducted by Shanti, Handayani & Trihastuti (2018) which offered a preventive action by identifying students in risks (students with less supportive family and social background, low confidence of being successful, low emotional control and depression tendency). Through probability sampling technique, 1831 students (58.82% female, 40.85% male, and 0.33% prefer not to say) from 1973 new students from batch 2018 in X University participated in the identification process. 383 students were identified to be in risks. After applying the preventive action, a curative action by providing counseling service was also conducted. 68 students were willing to participate in the counseling. They said that this counseling service successfully eased their problems. They also recommended that a socialization of this counseling service must also be improved.

These preventive and curative actions actually also brought effects as a promotive action, as students got information of the existence of this counseling service and its role in taking care of students’ mental health to support learning process. Students who had already got this information passed this information to other students so that more and more students got to know of this service.

A preventive action which also acted as a promotive action (explanation of the importance of taking care of mental health) was also done by giving active listening training for students. 84 students participated in this 3-day training (1 day in April, a day in May and 1 day in November 2018). This training not only successfully improved students’ skills in active listening and identifying individual characteristics which are prone to mental health disorders, but also successfully prepared students to be aware of counseling needs and to bring their friends in needs to come to the counseling service (Handayani, Shanti, Trihastuti, & Johanes, 2018).

Therefore, a complete package of mental health service (including preventive, curative and promotive actions) can maintain students’ mental health.