Samarinda, East Kalimantan. Financial pressure and marital strains have been blamed for the high number of people seeking treatment for depression in East Kalimantan, says an official from the province’s largest mental health institution.
Ardiansyah, the head of Atma Husada Mahakam Hospital in Samarinda, the provincial capital, said on Tuesday that a study by the Health Ministry showed that some 200,000 people in East Kalimantan sought treatment for depression last year, out of a total population of just 3.5 million.
“The figure is a combination of those suffering serious depression and those who suffered mild depression,” he said.
“The main factors in those cases were economic and household problems.”
Atma Husada Mahakam Hospital is currently treating 10,816 patients for depression, up from 9,741 last year.
According to Ardiansyah, many people from other regions were drawn to East Kalimantan to seek their fortune because they considered it a rich province that could provide many job opportunities due to its vast resources.
But the reality often failed to meet their expectations and caused them to suffer depression, he claimed.
“Many people from out of town came here expecting to get a decent job, but they fail to get one,” he said.
He added the high cost of living made the financial pressure even more keenly felt. According to the Balikpapan office of the Central Statistics Agency (BPS), living expenses in the province’s biggest city are Rp 4.5 million per household per month, while the minimum wage is just Rp 1.25 million a month. Balikpapan is also rated as having the highest living cost of any city in Indonesia.
Ardiansyah said another culprit for the high prevalence of depression was the high divorce rate in the province, particularly among couples aged 17 to 25 years.