BANGKOK – Acknowledging World Suicide Prevention Day, Public Health Minister Piyasakol Sakolsatayadorn said about 3,900 Thai people commit suicide annually, or one suicide every two hours.
Public health authorities say, one Thai dies in a suicide attempt every two hours with a growing number stating their intention to kill themselves online.
The suicide rate in Thailand stood at 6.08 per 100,000 people last year and was declining. The global rate was 11.69 per 100,000. Worldwide, about 800,000 people commit suicide every year.
In Thailand the number of male suicides was three times higher than for females. People in the 35-39 age group were recorded as having the highest suicide rate. The rate was highest in the North: 10 per 100,000. By province, the highest rate of 20 per 100,000 was recorded in Lamphun in the North and the figure was rising.
Prof Emeritus Dr Piyasakol said those with depression formed the highest risk group, and they included people with chronic diseases, the elderly, pregnant women, new mothers, those addicted to liquor and narcotics and people facing crises or great losses.
Statistics also showed that greater access to online media raised suicidal possibilities, the minister said.
Dr Jedsada Chokdamrongsuk, director-general of the Mental Health Department, said suicides were growing in the North and the Northeast due to domestic conflicts and chronic diseases.
The youngest case of suicide was 10 years old and the oldest one was at the age of 93, he said.
Signs of people intending to kill themselves usually arose anywhere between one hour and one month before they take action. In most cases, signs showed up three days in advance, he said.
For 79% of suicides, the key was alcohol and quarrels with people close to them, Dr Jedsada said.
He said signs of a problem on the social media emerged in the form of texts, pictures and video clips conveying complaints, final words and a lost will to live.
Dr Jedsada urged people to take quick action to prevent a suicide by talking and giving moral support instead of ignoring the signs.