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Thailand Creates Hope Task Force to Curb Suicides

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Suicides in Thailand

The Department of Mental Health (DMH) is expanding its Hope Task Force network to the provincial level in an effort to reduce suicides, after last year’s figures revealed more than 31,000 suicide attempts nationwide.

The DMH is increasing the expansion of suicide alarm channels to include all provincial Public Relations Department offices.

“The expansion of alert channels is to create an interface where suicide risk cases will be efficiently linked and transferred,” said Sirisak Thitidilokrat, Deputy Director-General of DMH.

“It is an important mechanism for integrating contributions towards helping, assisting and sending individuals who could be a suicide risk into the treatment system as well as exchanging information to prevent suicides and monitor those at risk,” he went on to say.

According to Dudsadee Juengsirakulwit, director of the DMH’s Mental Health Service Administration Bureau, suicide is one of the most visible outcomes of mental illness.

Thailand’s data show that 31,402 people tried suicide in the fiscal year 2023, with an average of 48.19 per 100,000 persons.

According to Dr. Dudsadee, suicide signals might include social media posts and internet messaging.

The DMH, in collaboration with the Crime Suppression Division, the Royal Thai Police, and social media influencers, including Facebook pages such as Mo Lap Panda, Drama-addict, and Mam Pho Dam, established the Hope Task Force in 2020 to reach out to people who send suicide signals online, allowing them to receive timely assistance, she said.

Dr. Dudsadee noted that the task force prevented 599 people from attempting suicide between October 9, 2020, and December 31, 2023. It is a paradigm for future mental health efforts, she said.

Teen suicide rates in Thailand are a growing concern. The number of young people taking their own lives is on the rise. Factors like academic pressure, family issues, and social media stress contribute to this troubling trend.

It’s crucial for parents, educators, and policymakers to address mental health issues among teenagers proactively. Creating a supportive environment and offering access to mental health resources can make a significant impact in preventing these tragedies.

Awareness and open communication are key in combating teen suicide in Thailand.

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