Depok-Community Service Team of Vocational Education Program at the Universitas Indonesia (UI) chaired by Ari Nurfikri, S.K.M, M.M.R., a lecturer in the Hospital Administration Study Program, together with the team, provided education about Early Detection of Mental Disorders in Children, through 3 series of activities and introduction of student work applications. The series of activities have been carried out in November-December 2021. The three series of activities are Assistance of Teachers and Parents of Students in Early Detecting Mental Health Disorders in Deaf Children at State Special School (SELPA) 11 Jakarta, Early Detection of Mental Health Disorders in Children during the Covid-19 Pandemic, and Evaluation of Understanding of detection process.

In this series of activities, the Bonding Application was introduced, which is an application prototype with a screening feature that can detect mental health disorders in deaf children. Snakes and Ladders Max (Ular Tangga Max or Ugamax) was also introduced as a medium to bring deaf children closer to their parents. The activities were carried out online and offline at State Special School 11 Jakarta, attended by teachers, parents and the general public.

Ari Nurfikri explained that many children’s mental health problems occur, but it was too late to be realized by the companions – both parents and teachers. “Especially for deaf children who have limited communication, of course it will be more challenging. So, this community service tries to provide education, understanding about the symptoms of mental health disorders, how to overcome them, and encouraging parents and teachers not to hesitate to consult experts if they find symptoms of mental disorders in their children,” said Ari.

At the Early Detection of Mental Health Disorders in Deaf Children webinar, which was held in November 2021, as a mentoring program for teachers and parents of State Special School 11 Jakarta, Christophorus Budidharma, B.Sc., Head of the Education Division of Silang.ID, an educational technology company that provides Indonesian Sign Language (BISINDO) learning services. Christophorus conveyed technology-based learning patterns for deaf children.

Another speaker was Duddy Fachrudin., M.Psi., Psikolog., who provided accurate information and skills in monitoring risk factors and signs of mental disorders in children, such as anxiety disorders, panic, depression, identity problems, and family problems. There are also tips for doing outdoor activities such as sports with children and positive thinking exercises. “The second webinar (25/11) is targeted at the general public and is not limited to deaf children because of the potential for mental health disorders to happen to anyone,” said Ari.

Salwa Rafilia, a student who made the Bonding Application prototype explained, “Bonding is an application prototype that has a screening feature that can detect mental health disorders in deaf children. “This application provides educational features, namely information on how to anticipate mental disorders in deaf children. Screening features are also presented in the form of self-assessment and video call features with professional psychologists,” said Salwa.

She further explained, Ugamax (Ular tangGa Max) is a game of snakes and ladders that can be played by children and parents to get closer to each other. In addition, to increase interest in learning for deaf children through interactive 3D animation in recognizing objects.

This series of community service activities was closed with an understanding evaluation activity which was held offline at State Special School 11 Jakarta on Wednesday, December 1, 2021, by adhering to local health protocols. “We hope that the previous two activities which were carried out online and finally confirmed by offline activities can strengthen understanding of the process of detecting and following up cases of children’s mental disorders. Hopefully parents will also no longer consider mental disorders to be taboo and do not hesitate to immediately consult an expert. This is so that cases of mental disorders can be suppressed and resolved immediately,” said Ari.