By The Nation
The ten issues are divided into three groups: children, working-age people, and the elderly. Also, there are two issues that can affect anyone.
In children, the issues are:
Stress or Depression: Statistics from the Department of Mental Health revealed that in 2019, there were six suicide attempts every hour in Thailand. More than 300 who had committed suicide successfully were children and teenagers, while the number seeking psychiatric help from the department increased.
The statistic also showed that the main causes of stress among children and teenagers were familial relationship, jobs and duties, being bullied and domestic violence.
“Most teens posted their suicidal messages on Twitter at 10pm on Tuesday and 7pm on Friday. If they received help in time, it can lessen the risk of suicide by half,” the official said.
Online threats: The survey conducted by Child Online Protection Action Thailand (COPAT) and Internet Foundation for the Development of Thailand found that Generation Z spent an average of 10.22 hours per day on the internet. In 2019, 31 per cent of children were the targets of cyber-bullying, 74 per cent have seen online pornographic materials, and 25 per cent admitted that they had had physical contact with strangers they met online.
“The research also stated that children who spend a lot of time online risk being bullied or becoming a cyber-bully themselves. Therefore, good relationships in the family and personal data protection will help prevent the risk from the start,” the official said.
Traffic and road accidents: Wearing a helmet while travelling on a motorcycle among teenagers decreased from 32 per cent in 2010 to 22 per cent in 2018, while 92 per cent of young children did not wear a helmet. Also, most injuries and deaths among children from motorcycle accidents occurred in lower-income regions.
“The foundation will collaborate with network partners in 283 risky districts to reduce accidents next year,” the official said.
Teenage pregnancy and infections: The number of teenage mothers has decreased, but the rate of sexually transmitted infections has tripled, especially syphilis and gonorrhea. The main cause is not wearing condoms when having sex.
The data from the Bureau of Epidemiology, Department of Disease Control in 2018 found that half of students in grade 11 and vocational certificate II used condom when having sex, but not using it when having sex with other women or men.
“According to an online survey, the reason teens did not use condom was because it was expensive or embarrassed when buying it. They prefer to use other methods instead, such as birth control pills,” the official said.
Understanding of e-sport: Becoming e-sport player is one of Thai children’s dream careers. The study found that discipline and time management are important factors for classifying professional players and game addicts. Besides, online gambling is also found in the competition.
In working age people, the issues are:
Diseases caused by eating: The top three causes of death for Thai people are still non-communicable diseases such as stroke, diabetes, and ischemic heart disease. Top Post’s survey of popular food in the previous year found that spicy and sweet flavour was popular among Thai people.
“People in working-age focused on extreme flavour, while teenagers were focused on appearance. Moreover, children and company workers eat little vegetables, so the foundation will hold a campaign to change people’s eating habits and enable them to access healthy foods,” the official said.
Cannabis: The Department of Medical Service has allowed the usage of cannabis in medical treatments for patients suffering nausea from chemotherapy, epilepsy, spasms with multiple sclerosis, and neuropathic pain.
“Cannabis was reportedly more beneficial than the department specified, so further research is required to make it more useful,” the official said.
Amomg the elderly, fake news is the top issue. The online survey found that top five of the most shared health-related fake news are porcupine flower, cannabis oil, energy cards, and the intelligence of children coming from their mothers.
“Most of the webpages publishing the fake news described themselves as news agencies, while webpages which provide facts was mostly news page,” the official said.
The issues the affect everyone:
PM2.5 dust particle: It was ranked as the fifth cause of death in 2015. The World Health Organisation announced that there are 7 million deaths from air pollution in 2016, in which 91 per cent occurred in Southeast Asia and the West Pacific countries.
“The statistic in Bangkok showed that PM2.5 occurred from January to March, posing serious risks to children and the elderly. The foundation will cooperate with Thailand Clean Air Network to prepare measures to tackle the dust particles in urban areas, ” the official said.
Food waste: Of the organic waste created in Thailand , at least 254 kilograms are food waste, 30 per cent over France and 40 per cent more than the United States.
“Waste management research by the Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI) found that waste disposal by incineration or landfill is the least recommended method in many countries, but Thailand mostly uses this method. Therefore, the government sector should create motivation for entrepreneurs to reduce food waste by donating it or making use of it,” the official said.
Official added that these issues in 2020 are ongoing issues from this year and topics that were discussed throughout this year.
“Keeping an eye on these issues alone may not be a good choice, taking action to create change may be the solution,” official added.