Prabowo Subianto's supporters have steadfastly stuck to their leader even after he lost the presidential election in April. (Antara Photo/Indrianto Eko Suwarso)

Supporters of Losing Election Candidates in Bengkulu Get Admitted to Mental Hospital


JUNE 04, 2019

Jakarta. Bengkulu's Soeprapto Mental Hospital has been treating around a dozen new patients who reportedly were admitted to the hospital after suffering from psychiatric episodes triggered by their favored candidates failing to win in April's legislative and presidential elections

The hospital has received 15 new patients since the elections in April, but not all of them were suffering from post-election stress. 

"Some Bengkulu residents are experiencing stress because the candidates they supported failed to get themselves elected," hospital spokesman Sainuri said on Wednesday.

"They were too confident that their favorite candidates would win. Their disappointment [when they did not] led to stress," Sainuri said.

He said some of the new patients would sometimes speak to themselves or shout out the names of the candidates they supported, but otherwise they were peaceful and well-behaved. 

Sainuri said these patients were admitted to the hospital by their families. They were regular citizens, not businessmen or affiliates of a political party or members of a campaign team. Almost all of them came from families with average economic background.

Election candidates have been known to suffer from stress or a psychiatric episode when they lose. They had spent a lot of money, including taking on huge debts, to try to get elected, so some of them were driven to the verge of a nervous breakdown when they failed to win.  

Cases of political supporters being admitted to a mental hospital because their favored candidates lose an election are rare. 

Sainuri said the patients might have already been suffering from pre-existing stress which took a turn for the worse when the candidates they supported lost the elections last month.

Dr. Lucy from the Bengkulu mental hospital said some of the patients spent too much time arguing and discussing about the election that they started to get obsessed about it. 

"That could be why when they suffered a psychiatric episode, they would only talk about politics, the presidential election, their favorite candidates, and so on," she said.

"But we are still not 100 percent sure of the cause of their episodes at the moment," she said.

Lucy said two factors can cause a psychiatric episode, physical or non-physical illnesses. An episode caused by non-physical factors is more complicated and needs careful handling to bring the patient back to health.