Thursday, December 12, 2019

Thai team helping Laotians affected by dam disaster to cope with mental health issues

Jul 31. 2018
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By The Nation

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The dam collapse in Laos’s Sanamxai province has caused stress to 156 Laotians, including 13 with a tendency to harm themselves, according to mental-health checks carried out by a Thai team from July 28-30.

“We have conducted the checks for people who have lost their family members,” Squadron Leader Boonruang Triruangworawat, director-general of Thailand’s Mental Health Department, said on Tuesday. 

On July 23, a saddle dam of the Xe-Pian Xe-Namnoy hydroelectric-power project burst in Laos, causing at least 26 deaths and leaving more than 100 people missing. 

Boonruang said his agency had responded to the emergency by forming a Mental Health Crisis Assessment and Treatment Team to help people in Laos. 

The team members are from Thailand’s border province of Ubon Ratchathani. 

“Our team has prescribed anti-anxiety drugs to those developing high stress and a tendency to harm themselves,” he said. “This group needs close monitoring and constant evaluation.” 

The team dispatched to Laos has also organised various activities for Laotians, such as meditation classes and massages at a temporary evacuation centre, with the aim of relieving their stress.

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