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A leading mental health expert has warned that Thais are increasingly committing suicide – and the problem is at its worst in the north of the country.
Dr Somrak Chuwanichawong of Bangkok’s leading Sri Thanya mental hospital was speaking at a conference entitle: “Depression and suicide – important issues of public health in Thailand”, reported Daily News.
Doctor Somrak said that suicide in the country peaked at two times in recent history – during the 2007 Asian financial meltdown and when the AIDS epidemic broke.
But suicide amongst the population lessened when these crises abated and this had continued until recent times.
But now, she said that the country was experiencing a resurgence and depression was the main cause.
She said that the highest per capita suicide rate in Thailand was in the Northern Region. This, she suggested may relate to the northern characteristics of people keeping things to themselves and not letting go of stress as much as they should.
The Central and North Eastern regions have average figures and the Southern Region the least. In the Central area and Isan economic problems tend to cause most of the stress, she said.
Depression is rooted in many external causes, she said, and when combined with imbalances in the chemical make-up of the brain could lead people to suicide.
Depression that lasts two weeks should act as a warning signal that treatment by a doctor is urgently required.
There is currently only one psychiatrist per 250,000 people in Thailand while the target for the public health ministry is to have 1 for each 100,000 of the population.