Adolescent Mental Health in Indonesia: The Current State, Challenges, and Opportunities

Adolescent mental health from the public health perspective

Holly Erskine, PhD – Queensland Centre for Mental Health Research

Adolescent mental health research in Indonesia

dr. Amirah Ellyza Wahdi, MSPH – Dept. Biostatistics, Epidemiology & Population Health, Universitas Gadjah Mada

Adolescence is a period between childhood and adulthood, equal to the years between the ages 10 and 19 years old. The world now has more young people than ever before, a result of medical improvements, public health measures, and higher quality of life. Around 1.2 billion (16.67%) of the world’s total population are adolescents, nearly 90% of them live in low-income and middle-income countries. In Indonesia, around 20% of the total population is classified as adolescents. Yet, it is only recently that the global public health society starts to focus on this growing demography. It is also extremely important to remember that this generation, particularly the younger adolescents (10-14 years old) is the foothold for Indonesia in achieving the demographic dividend.

Adolescents in the current era will face different challenges that have never been seen before, such as global warming, globalization, and social media-related pressure. Over the years, the age of onset of puberty is also decreasing as the age of social maturity is increasing. There is also a set of challenges that is inherent to the social determinants of health that would affect the adolescent’s quality of life. All these challenges will affect adolescents’ mental health. Yet, there are official data on the state of adolescent mental health in Indonesia. There are also no current agreed-upon interventions available to address the multilevel challenges that adolescents face. The Covid-19 pandemic also hurts adolescents to a degree that has never been experienced before. It is estimated that the pandemic will roll back the recent improvement in adolescent health, this also includes mental health.