By The Nation
He was commenting on the eve of World Suicide Prevention Day today.
He cited a recent study that showed 53,000 Thais attempted suicide annually, averaging six people per hour – and 4,000 took their lives last year.
The loss o f life was blamed for economic losses estimated at over Bt400 million.
Dr Boonruang said the pace of life in Thailand, especially in urban areas, had become faster and many people had adopted a “quick-quick mentality” by which decisions must be made instantly and there’s no time to contemplate.
When pressure mounts, they tend to be overwhelmed by stress and are unable to recognise solutions to their problems.
Boonruang urged a collective social effort to prevent suicides – “connect, communicate and care”.
It required the promotion of good relationships and communications among family members and a determination to take care of anyone who appears mentally or emotionally vulnerable.
He said the International Association for Suicide Prevention had sought the cooperation of Thailand and other member-countries to step up public awareness campaigns addressing the issue, both in conjunction with World Suicide Prevention Day and later.
Families, communities and societies everywhere must work together to prevent suicides, Boonruang said. Annually around the world, 800,000 people deliberately kill themselves, representing one suicide every 40 seconds, he said.
The World Health Organisation’s target is to reduce the number of suicides by at least 10 per cent by 2021.
Most Thais who commit suicide were single males of working age, Boonruang said. The youngest victim on record was 10 years old, the oldest 100.
The chief contributing factors are relationship issues, alcoholism and drugs, and socio-economic worries.
Dr Nuttakorn Chumpathong, head of the National Suicide Prevention Centre, said anyone could get help or advice at any time of the day or night by phoning 1323.
There’s also a phone app called Sabaijai with which users can appraise their risk of committing suicide.
Nuttakorn listed nine “signals” that could indicate someone might be considering suicide.
They are: talking about it on social media, self-imposed isolation, insomnia, chronic use of alcohol or drugs, depression, and suffering from chronic ailments.