Wednesday, June 23, 2021

in-focus

Suicide prevention expert issues Covid-19 warning and advice


A psychiatrist has advised people on how to combat mental stress caused by Covid-19, which was highlighted on Tuesday when a coronavirus patient in Bangkok committed suicide.

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The victim was a 59-year-old railway policeman who tested positive on Sunday and was treated at the Police Hospital in Bangkok. On Tuesday, he was placed under intensive care after his blood-oxygen level dropped. At around 3pm a witness saw him visit the toilet but then fail to return. At 4pm, a nurse went to investigate and found him hanging in the toilet. A medical team tried to revive him but without success, and he was pronounced dead at 5pm.

The results of an investigation into why the patient committed suicide are expected in a few days, said the Department of Disease Control. Police have speculated that the victim had felt guilty for placing his family members at risk of infection.

Dr Prakarn Thomyangkoon, a psychiatrist and suicide-prevention expert, commented that the Covid-19 crisis was impacting not just people’s physical health but also their mental well-being.

People are worried that they may catch the disease, said Dr Prakarn, who is also an adviser to the Medical Services Department.

He said this fear becomes stress which can trigger anger towards everything – infected patients, health systems, medics and even people of a certain race – as seen in the spate of attacks on Asians in the US.

Dr Prakarn urged people to monitor those around them closely, stay in the present, and help each other to relax with Covid-safe activities such as listening to music, watching movies and exercising. He also advised people not to constantly check news updates about the virus, as this can cause too much stress.

“If we or someone close to us becomes infected, the first thing needed is to be mindful,” he emphasised. “This disease can be treated, so don’t panic. Just remain calm and clear-headed.”

Published : April 22, 2021

By : The Nation