Cop suicide blamed on stress
STRESS AND depression overwhelmed a former deputy national police commissioner, who had fought against a one-metre wide, double-track train project for four decades and jumped to his death on Sunday, according to his relatives.
Pol General Salang Bunnag, 81, left a suicide note declaring his opposition to the project and other development plans in the country. “As he got older, he developed some illnesses, including stress and depression,” his youngest son, Pol Lt-Colonel Hemachak Bunnag, said yesterday as he appeared at the Institute of Forensic Medicine to collect his father’s body for funeral rites. The funeral started yesterday afternoon at Debsirin Temple. Salang was a controversial figure due to his role in the 1976 crackdown on protesters, which led to scores of student protesters at Thammasat University being killed.
While Hemachak refused to comment on his father’s autopsy results, he said the suicide note and related documents would be released to the media in line with his father’s wishes. “We will distribute the documents to the media by Tuesday [today],” he said. Hemachak’s brother, Wanchak Bunnag, said although his father had retired about two decades ago, his focus on the country’s transport issues had not faded. He opposed the narrow-gauge, one-metre railways, which are generally cheaper to build than wider-gauge networks. “Normally, he had a caregiver by his side. But on Sunday, she took a day off to tend to some errands,” Wanchak said. Public Health Ministry permanent secretary Dr Jedsada Chokdamrongsuk said yesterday that suicidal thoughts could happen to anyone, regardless of age.
“But suicidal risks are generally higher among the elderly and patients with chronic health problems,” he said. Jedsada urged people close to members of at-risk groups not to ignore their plight and to listen to them. “Talk to them to help ease their stress,” he said. “If their conditions do not improve, take them to psychiatrists.” In 2016, an average of 6.35 out of 100,000 people in Thailand committed suicide. Half of them were diagnosed as suffering from depression.
Jedsada also recommended that people check their own stress levels, as anxiety and insomnia were indicators. “If you are under stress, exercise, talk to people close to you and try to take enough rest,” Jedsada said. “You may also call the Mental Health Department’s Hotline, 1323, or use the Sabaijai app to get counselling.”