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Mental health services and traditional healing in Indonesia: are the roles compatible?
This study reports on the presentation of illness complaints by 90 individuals to nine traditional healers in three Indonesian cities. Focus is on the nature of problems, client explanations and expectations, healer treatment and subsequent outcome as judged by clients. Selected clients were observed and interviewed by a psychiatrist and one other health professional, and followed in a subsequent home visit. Complaints were categorized according to dimensions of acuteness and chronicity of problem, presumed self-limited characteristics, and psychological, general medical and other factors. Sixty-five percent of all clients had received prior treatment for the same problem in a biomedical health care setting. The study holds practical implications for policies regarding relations between health and mental health services and traditional healers in Indonesia.