Improve Mental Health During COVID-19 Pandemic, ITB Lecturers Launch ruangempati.com

By Adi Permana

Editor -

BANDUNG, itb.ac.id – COVID-19 pandemic doesn’t only trigger economic complication, but also the mental health of the community. This is mainly due to the drastic change in lifestyle. Therefore, the lecturer team from the Faculty of Fine Arts and Design (FSRD) and School of Electrical and Informatics Engineering (STEI) ITB along with Melinda Hospital 2 Psychiatrist. The collaboration is to create a site for virtual consulting and art therapy to preserve mental health, entitled ruangempati.com.



“We feel that currently the government is more prioritizing the availability of protective equipment, instead of the community’s psychology condition. Mental condition is important because if one’s mental condition drops, their immune might also drop, in the end, they will be more prone to be sick. Therefore, we decided to help in the psychiatric area,” said Dr. Ira Adriati S.Sn, M.Sn, ITB Fine Art lecturer, when interviewed by ITB Public Relations reporter.

Since 18 March 2020, the team has begun to discuss the form of psychiatric services that will be provided. Because the situation is not possible to conduct an offline meeting, the services are conducted through website media. Since the process to create a website requires a long time and preparation, the team also launches an Instagram account @ketik.hasaka.

Ruangempati.com website provides two main features, which are consultation and art psychotherapy. For consultation service, the users will be given the psychiatrist’s contact so that they can directly communicate. For art psychotherapy, it provides several art activities to channel one’s emotion, and hopefully, the users can feel better after participating. Visitors also able to share their condition through ruangempati.com, assisted by trained and available assistants.

“The art psychotherapy is to reduce one’s worry through art activities. Sometimes people don’t aware that art can be a therapeutic process, like coloring, our emotion can be channeled through art activities. Moreover, not everyone can be openly express their emotion through consultation, some are lazy to talk, while some feel the need for a companion but can’t freely talk with a stranger. Hence, their emotion can be analyzed through the art media and they are helped using visual language from their creation,” explained Dr. Ira.

She also stated that the utilization of art in therapy to reduce someone’s anxiety is, in fact, has its own guide used by experts. Therefore, the team has recruited volunteers to be trained regarding art psychotherapy, including the way to read the result and correlate it with mental health. Eventually, if the users have the need to consult based on their art psychotherapy results, they will be directed to consult with a psychiatrist.

In the early stage, art psychotherapy is limited for 20 users in a day, due to the limited number of volunteers that are available to assist the users, but there is no limitation on the number of visitors. The website provides information on tips and tricks in form of videos and writings regarding how to handle the current situation so that mental health is maintained healthy and hopefully users can generate ideas on what activities they should do to channel their emotions without consulting with the psychiatrist.

“The website is free. There is no charge for the users, even for the psychiatrist consultation. This is wholly for community service,” she claimed.

The team involved in the project consists of Dr. Irma Damajanti, Dr. Intan M ( FSRD), Dr. Yusep (STEI), dr. Teddy Hidayat, Sp K., dr Elvien, Sp. K, dan Dr. Shelly. Ruangempati.com website was launched on 2 May 2020 and has gained appreciation from Commander of COVID-19 Emergency Hospital Health Task Force, Brigjen Agung Hermawanto, Sp.Kj. Currently, users are able to conduct online consultation.

Reporter: Indah Lestari Madelin (Environmental Engineer, 2017)
Translator : Wendy Anastasia Yeoda (Management, 2017)