The voting is over in the Indonesian parliamentary elections and the psychiatrists are preparing for the consequences. According to a recent Jakarta Globe report, hospital staff and psychologists at hospitals across the archipelago are readying themselves and preparing extra beds for a new batch of losing candidates.
“Most of the legislative candidates who will be prone [to depression] are beginners who are not ready to lose,” Fadhilah Masjaya, the director of Atma Husada Hospital in Samarinda, said in the East Kalimantan capital on Thursday. “Some of them probably have spent Rp 1 billion [$88,000] alone — then it’s wasted and they become distressed.”
Fadhilah added that most candidates would not, however, suffer from major depressive symptoms.
“We’ll treat them no different to other patients,” he said.
In Balikpapan, a booming mining city on the East Kalimantan coast, the local health agency has instructed community health clinics, known as Puskesmas, to make the necessary preparations.
“We’ve opened special posts at all Puskesmas; they’re ready to treat legislative candidates who are mildly or heavily depressed,” Balikpapan Health Agency head Dyah Muryani said. “We’ve also prepared [psychiatrists]. Doctors at Puskesmas can refer patients to hospitals or to psychiatrists.”
The newspaper report said that in the aftermath of the 2009 legislative elections, when parties began randomly recruiting legislative candidates to lure voters, the Indonesian media was packed with reports of depressed also-rans admitted to psychiatric wards, suffering public breakdowns and committing suicide. Most of the cases were attributed to losing in the elections after huge spending, which rendered many of the candidates heavily indebted.
To anticipate recurrence, Social Services Minister Salim Segaf Al-Jufri last month called on hospitals across the regions, particularly the mental health hospitals, to allocate special wards to treat such patients.
“We predict that there will be a lot of distressed legislative candidates, especially those who lose, after the elections,” Salim said, according to republika.co.id. “Therefore we’ve coordinated with local administrations and hospitals to prepare special wards.”