Suicide rates among Thais have risen in recent years, with 4,800 people taking their own life last year, according to a Department of Mental Health (DMH) report.
In honour of this year’s World Suicide Prevention Day, many public health workers, including those at the DMH and the National Health Security Office (NHSO), banded together to aid with suicide prevention.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) designates September 10 as World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD) to give worldwide commitment and effort to prevent suicides.
The idea for WSPD arose when the WHO reported that at least one million individuals commit suicide each year, or one every 40 seconds. Suicide is currently one of the top ten causes of mortality worldwide, with men having three times the probability of succeeding in suicide as women.
Suicide rates and mental health are still serious issues in Thailand, with the death toll continuing to rise, according to DMH Deputy Director-General Dr Sirisak Thitidilokrat.
According to the DMH, the suicide rate in 2018 was 6.3 per 100,000 people; 6.32 in 2019; 6.64 in 2020; 7.38 in 2021; and 7.97 in 2022, the highest in the prior five years.
Relationship problems were named as the leading cause of 50% of suicides. Health and mental concerns were blamed for 20%-30% of the fatalities, he claimed, while alcohol and financial troubles were also mentioned as possible causes.
Furthermore, workplace stress increased the toll, as persons of working age (20-59) saw the 3,585 fatalities in their age group in 2021 increase to 3,650 by 2022. Suicide affects the lives of 5-10 million other people as well as economic systems, according to the WHO.
NHSO Secretary-General Jadet Thammathataree proposed that those categorised as suicide risks get regular assessments under the universal healthcare, or “gold card” system.
Suicidal individuals can contact the DMH’s mental health hotline at 1323. Last year, the DMH hotline received 11,769 calls from working-age persons.
Fortunately, there are various places can go to for mental health support in Thailand:
If you’re feeling depressed, lonely, or suicidal, you can dial the English-language hotline at 02 113 6789 (Press 2). The free service gives you access to staff who are knowledgeable in suicide prevention, though you don’t have to be suicidal to benefit from the hotline.
In the event of a mental health emergency, going to the emergency room at an international hospital is ideal. You’ll get mental health services and facilities for various issues including inpatient care, outpatient services, day programs, and counseling.
Specializing in mental and behavioral healthcare, you’ll get a variety of mental health services like adult psychiatry and day programs for individuals and groups. The multidisciplinary staff are experts in dealing with conditions like substance abuse, family problems, PTSD, and more.
Looking for an expat-focused service? Since 2011, this Bangkok-based mental health provider has been offering counseling, therapy, and assessment services. Staff speak English, French, and Thai, and service clients outside of the capital city via online consultation.
For mental health services, counseling, and training to expats and locals, this fully-licensed counseling center in Bangkok offers support for a range of mental health issues ranging from anxiety and depression to grief counseling. Staff speak English, Thai, and many other languages.