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Mental health concerns in Thailand

mental health concerns in Thailand

Mental health challenges are on the rise in Thailand, with an increasing number of people seeking treatment, according to data from the National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC). The number of individuals seeking treatment for mental health issues surged from 1.3 million in 2015 to 2.9 million in 2023. However, despite this rise, it’s reported that around 10 million Thai citizens are grappling with mental health problems, surpassing the global average and highlighting a significant treatment gap.

Data collected by the Mental Health Department between October 1, 2023, and April 22, 2024, paints a concerning picture. Approximately 15.48% of Thailand’s population reported experiencing stress, 17.20% exhibited signs of depression, and 10.63% were at risk of suicidal ideation. These statistics indicate a worsening trend over recent years.

The impact of mental health issues extends beyond individuals, affecting the economy and society at large. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), depression and anxiety result in an annual loss of 12 billion working days globally, equating to an estimated economic loss of US$1 trillion. Moreover, nearly one in five individuals with mental health issues require caretakers, straining households and depleting human resources.

Alarmingly, fewer than one in four individuals with severe mental illnesses, which carry a high risk of violence, receive adequate care and monitoring. Economic and societal pressures contribute significantly to depressive and anxiety disorders among the Thai population, surpassing mental health issues caused by drug abuse in the 2023 fiscal year.

The suicide rate in Thailand also raises concerns, reaching 7.94 per 100,000 population in the same year, approaching levels last seen during the Tom Yum Kung financial crisis, when it peaked at 8.59 per 100,000 population. Environmental factors, such as PM2.5 air pollution, further compound mental health challenges in Thailand, necessitating continued efforts to address these pressing environmental concerns.


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