A troubling upward trend in suicides among both the local and expatriate residents in Bali has prompted 11 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Bali to create a group named “Bali Bersama Bisa” (Together We Can!).
“Bali Bisa Bersama” has established BISA – a 24-hour Suicide Prevention Helpline. The BISA Helpline derives its name from a young woman in Bali who ended her own life but is also an acronym for Love Inside Suicide Awareness.
The telephone counseling service is staffed by trained volunteers and mental health professionals working in Indonesian and English.
The current recession and COVID-19 pandemic have exacerbated existing mental health issues in the Balinese community. Health professionals, educators, religious leaders, and law enforcement workers across Bali are facing sharp increases in incidents of anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts. Unemployment, familial disintegration, and hunger in Bali are occurring when the World Health Organization (WHO) calculates that 93% of mental health support services in Indonesia closed in 2020.
In the spirit of “Together, We Can,” the BISA 24-hour Online Suicide Prevention is a mental health and psychological support program extending assistance to all levels of society without reference to ethnic background, religion, political viewpoint, or any personal disability.
BISA reaches out to help people with mental health and addiction issues, self-harm, or suicidal tendencies. Following an initial call-in, volunteers provide counseling and assistance customized to the specific and continuing needs of the caller. Such assistance can include medical and psychological treatment and support, introductions to self-help groups comprised of individuals with personal experience of the issues confronted by the caller, and linkage to community assistance programs that can provide sustenance and support.