“It’s not only you who take medicine every day. People with diabetes also take medicine. Those with hypertension are also diligently taking medicine.”
Those are the words that Tice delivered to People with Mental Disorders (ODGJ) whom she assisted, so they want to be diligent in therapy and taking medicine. Tice is a housewife who is committed to assist ODGJ, not a nurse at the Mental Hospitalor a doctor.
Talking about psychosocial disabilities or ODGJ, it cannot be separated from the Special Province of Yogyakarta (DIY) with the highest percentage for the number of ODGJ compared to other regions in Indonesia. Based on data released by the DIY Health Office in 2016, more than 12,000 residents of DIY are people with mental disorders (ODGJ). While in DIY itself, Yogyakarta City is ranked third after Bantul and Gunungkidul Districts with a total ODGJ of more than 1,900 people.
Theresia Titaning Ruci or familiarly called Tice, a woman born in Ungaran, Central Java is one of the few people who pays attention to ODGJ. Born into a family that has a family member with a disability, made her the object of mockery by her other friends at the time with the nickname “adine tekle” which means “younger sister of a brother with a limp”. This began in 1974, when the area where she lived was stricken with polio outbreaks. As a result, some of the population contracted the plague, including her brother. This past humiliation and ridicule has motivated her to work for humanity and try to eliminate stigma and discrimination.
Being accustomed to interacting with people with disabilities does not necessarily make it easier to interact with ODGJ. “I might have been scared too. But finally I realized they were around us.” After participating in a number of training organized by the YAKKUM Rehabilitation Center within Program Peduli, Tice became an active cadre. “So there is such a thing as ‘PANTAU’. That means we monitor within the distance of the 5 meters radius from our home, whether there is ODGJ. Only within the row of houses, there are 10 ODGJ. So there are indeed many ODGJ in Baciro,” explained Tice. The unavailability of special ODGJ data is also a problem. Programs cannot be designed and implemented if the number of ODGJ data is still unclear. The unavailability of specific surveys and families who are ashamed to admit or even hide their family members is also a problem.
Tice attended the first acupressure training specifically for people with mental disorders. After getting a briefing about these alternative therapies, she was more eager to learn how to handle ODGJ by following the next stage with the establishment of g a Self-Help Group (SHG) as a room for OGDJ to carry out their daily activities independently, then proceed with group activity therapy (TAK). In the group forum, not only ODGJ, but families and cadres also share with each other.
The knowledge Tice gained, she utilizes to embrace ODGJ around her residence in the Baciro Village, Yogyakarta. Every week, she visits ODGJ’s house to just say hello as well as chat with the family. In addition to visiting ODGJ and his family, Tice also sought to foster independence and confidence by involving them in a number of events such as bazaars and other events that talk about ODGJ.
“The happiest moment for me was when the ODGJ whom I assisted turned out to be independent after receiving acupressure training. People do not want to interact with ODGJ because they do not bathe, they smell, and so on. But they can actually be independent. I took them to various events to become acupressure massage therapists. That was the happiest thing for me to see that,” said Tice proudly.
Working with ODGJ requires consistency and change cannot be achieved instantly. It takes a long time, starting from opening communication so that they are comfortable. “As much as possible I always take the time to see them. It must continue to be carried on,” said Tice. Seeing ODGJ being able to get out of the house and be accepted by the community is a matter of pride and happiness for Tice. Little things like her assisted ODGJ participating in the 17th (Independence day celebration) competition and they becoming diligent in worshiping became encouragement and encourage her to continue to strive and foster hope for ODGJ.
During her involvement in helping ODGJ, she has many sweet bitter experiences that she swallowed. Some of them are happy moments when the assisted ODGJ has recovered and is well received by the community where he/she lives. Another experience that also makes her happy was when she succeeded in passing her assisted ODGJ to get rehabilitation services needed when he/she was arrested by the Civil Service Police Unit (Satpol PP) last October.
Tice also has a dream that someday discrimination against ODGJ will be completely erased. “Anyone can be ODGJ. We who are healthy, break up in love, can be ODGJ. We who have been suffering from a long and lasting illness, with economic pressures, dreams that are not accomplished can also be ODGJ.” She hopes that this effort can be more or less able to give awareness for people that think ODGJ is a dangerous and threatening group. “They are truly the same (as us), they are us, we are them,” she said.
The figure of Ibu Tice is a portrait of a few great people who are not only mindful but brave to do extraordinary work for humanity and social inclusion. Inspirational spirit and compassion to people with ODGJ is a portrait that needs to be emulated and become an example.
Tice is one of the organic cadres of Program Peduli called Pandu Inklusi Nusantara (PINTAR). In November 2018, Tice received an appreciation from Program Peduli at the PINTAR Appreciation Night event in Yogyakarta.