In the quest to raise awareness about mental health issues, particularly bipolar disorder, the Jakarta branch of the Indonesian Association of Psychiatrists (Perhimpunan Dokter Spesialis Kedokteran Jiwa Indonesia or PDSKJI Jaya) has introduced Hagi, a cute heart-shaped mascot with a friendly and welcoming smile. Hagi’s mission is to create awareness in society regarding mental health conditions like bipolar disorder.
Hagi unveiled itself during the Health Seminar on World Bipolar Day 2018 and the Launch of Hagi Doll in Jakarta. The concept for this mascot initially arose from the mind of Tiur Sihombing, a member of PDSKJI Jaya, and later took shape through the creative talents of Hana Madness, an artist who also battles bipolar disorder. Hagi emerged, adorned with its signature light blue and white colors.
The Philosophy Behind Hagi
The name “Hagi” derives from the English word “hug.” It symbolizes the act of embracing and comforting individuals. Beyond raising awareness about bipolar disorder, one of Hagi’s roles is to become a comforting companion for people.
“For those who need a hug when they are sad or happy, they can embrace Hagi without any hesitation,” Tiur explained.
Although the therapeutic effects of hugging in the context of bipolar disorder are not scientifically established, according to Vindy Ariella, Chair of Bipolar Care Indonesia, emotional support through hugs can be profoundly beneficial for individuals dealing with challenging situations.
“The support of a hug is very tangible. Sometimes, people with bipolar disorder need a hug, hand-holding, and affection,” shared Vindy, based on her personal experience with bipolar disorder.
Hagi is deliberately designed to be incredibly “hugable.” Hana Madness, the creator of the doll, intentionally crafted Hagi this way to allow anyone, regardless of gender, to embrace it, if only for a moment, to temporarily forget their life’s burdens.
Tiur also expressed the likelihood of Hagi gaining “siblings” in the future, meaning there may be more dolls to further enhance public awareness of mental health issues, including bipolar disorder.
Understanding Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition characterized by episodic mood changes and enduring emotional fluctuations. This type of mental disorder often develops in late adolescence or early adulthood. At least half of all bipolar disorder cases emerge before the age of 25, and some individuals may exhibit initial symptoms during childhood.
Bipolar disorder is a chronic, severe, and potentially fatal mental illness. Between 10% to 20% of individuals with bipolar disorder die by suicide. The suicide rate among individuals with bipolar disorder is 2-3 times higher than that of individuals with schizophrenia and a staggering 20 times higher than the general population.
Hagi, with its warm and inviting design, symbolizes not only a comforting embrace but also a crucial message of mental health awareness. It serves as a reminder that reaching out for support and understanding is essential in managing conditions like bipolar disorder.
With Hagi as a symbol of empathy and awareness, there is hope that more individuals will find the strength and support they need to overcome the challenges of mental health disorders.