Sociology Researchers: Pandemic Affect Mental Health of Border Residents

Two researchers from Sociology Study Program UB, Wida Ayu Puspitosari and Dewi Puspita Rahayu initiated a study on digital technology for mental health in the community of new residents of former East Timor in the RI-RDTL border area.

The two academics found that mental health was a matter of less concern among new residents of former East Timor, especially during the pandemic.

“There is no special attention and facilities for mental health recovery for new residents affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. These times of crisis bring back bitter memories from the past when the exodus occurred in 1999. They felt the same feeling of crisis,” said Wida.

In addition, the mental health of the new residents of former East Timor is also affected by customary pressures to provide strict social control, especially when traditional ceremonies are getting more intense in the middle of this year.

UB Sociology research team when meeting activists of women’s groups in Belu Regency. (Photo: Wida for Public Relations FISIP)

These two researchers explained that there is a role for digital technology in restoring or reducing mental health during the pandemic. Dewi explained that several residents during the pandemic claimed to be anxious and bored because of the same information during the pandemic, especially through WhatsApp.

“They said they prefer Facebook because there they can get entertainment and sell goods,” said the Lecturer of UB Sociology Study Program.

Dewi stated that this research is an effort made by UB Sociology academics to emphasize the importance of digital technology to help restore mental health among people who are still marginalized.

“It is important to understand and share how we feel in order to maintain mental health. The same for new residents from East Timor,” he explained.

In the future, Dewi stated that the existence of smart phones and their impact on mental health needs to be investigated more deeply. (Humas FISIP/Humas UB/ Trans. Iir)