Rescue workers in northern Thailand are searching for a teenager after he jumped into the Nan river after arguing with his mother over covid-19 quarantine. The teen jumped into the Nan River and disappeared after his mother wanted him to isolate following his return from Bangkok.
According to the Bangkok Post Ms. Udomsri Kachonklin, 40, said that her son 19 year-old Anuchit Imjai had returned from Bangkok last Saturday and she, family members and local health volunteers asked him to stay home and isolate himself for 14 days.
Their house was by the Nan River near Wat Rat Chang Khwan in tambon Pak Thang of Muang district in northern Thailand’s Phichit province.
After two days into his 14 day quarantine, Anuchit told his mother he wanted to meet his friends. Family members tried to stop him from going out, leading to an argument, during which he complained no one loved him.
He then ran out towards the river while shouting he would commit suicide. Ms Udomsri said she ran after her son and managed to grab him but he shook her away. As she tumbled, the son jumped into the river as she helplessly watched him get swept away in the river current that has increased due to heavy rains.
Rescue workers were summoned to the area and immediately stated searching for the the distraught teen along the banks of the Nan river. Rescue workers later launched boats onto the Nan river and continue their search for the teen.
Suicide Rates in Thailand Soar
As Thailand struggles with a third wave of covid-19 many Thai are committing suicide in record numbers over depression and hardships. The covid-19 pandemic that arrived from China in late 2019 has decimated Thailand’s tourism industry and put millions of Thai people out of work and into mountains of debt.
Thailand has the highest rate of suicide among Southeast Asian nations. It is estimated that one person tries to kill themselves every 10 minutes. According to a 2019 World Health Organization (WHO) report, there are 14.4 suicides per 100,000 people in Thailand, whereas neighbouring Cambodia records 5.3 and the Philippines 3.2 per 100,000.
The rate of suicide had already been increasing year-on-year in Thailand pre-pandemic, but during Covid-19, the figure leapt by 11 per cent from 2019 to the end of 2020, from 4,581 to 5,085 deaths, according to statistics from the Ministry for Health.
Thailand’s Department of Mental Health spokesperson Dr Varoth Chotpitayasunondh says that the groups currently most vulnerable to suicide are those who have Covid-19 and those who live in the country’s ‘red zones’, the provinces with the most restrictions in place.
“These people tended to have higher stress and depression than those in the ‘green zones [areas with the least restrictions in place],’” he said.
There have long been fears that Covid-19, and the restrictions brought in to contain it, could lead to a mental health crisis and a possible increase in suicide rates around the globe.
Alongside the fear of the disease itself and potential bereavement, experts also point to some of the features of lockdown, such as isolation, loneliness, the loss of social support networks, unemployment, and financial insecurity as being destructive to mental health.