Suicide risk rate for Thais increases 10-fold amid Covid situation
Thais tend to have higher stress, especially during the latest Covid-19 wave, while the suicide risk rate has risen 10 times compared to last year, the Department of Mental Health (DMH) said on Wednesday.
The department is accelerating its move to reduce suicide risk by promoting the “Vaccine Jai” (Mental Vaccine) campaign.
DMH director-general Dr Amporn Benjapolpitak said during Wednesday’s virtual seminar “Decoding Innovations for Mental Vaccines in the Community 2021” – which was piloted in a prototype area covering four provinces: Lamphun, Kalasin, Nakhon Si Thammarat and Nakhon Sawan – that the risk of suicidal thoughts since August has increased to 7-8 per cent from 0.7-0.8 per cent during the same period last year.
She said that similar to global suicide rates, the risk would gradually increase in six months after each crisis and peak within a year. Therefore, during this one-year period from August 2021 to 2022, the matter needs close monitoring in a bid to reduce the risk of suicide.
Amporn suggested that suicidal thoughts can be eased by taking time to carefully process one’s thoughts and avoid the use of drugs or alcohol consumption. The person at risk needs to gain confidence, with hope that the situation will become better, while seeking help and advice from family or friends if needed.
“The DMH is expanding its 1323 call centre to provide help to those in need. The Vaccine Jai campaign, launched in April, is a mental health assessment tool that aims to evaluate risks and provide guidelines for pandemic-related mental health issues,” she added.