Half Million Thais with Mental Illness go Untreated

 | Thu 10 Apr 2014 11:55 ICT

CityNews – In a new report by the Department of Mental Health it was stated that more than half a million Thais who have some kind of mental disorder go untreated because they don’t have access to help.

Mental Health Department, Director-General Dr. Jessada Chokedamrongsuk said recently that instances of mental health in Thailand is on the rise, especially people suffering from post traumatic stress disorder and people with depression.

He added that the Mental Health Department is now focusing on reaching out to people in rural areas and trying to add more beds in hospitals as well as building more rehabilitation centres throughout the country.

Chiang Mai’s Suan Prung Psychiatric Hospital is the north’s largest treatment centre for mental illnesses. The hospital conducts a lot of outreach work in remote areas of Thailand where mental illness can sometimes be misunderstood as is written in this story on the hospital.

From the story:

“We [Suan Prung doctors and staff] would go around all the villages in the north trying to locate people who needed our help; 10 years ago [1996], we would find someone who had been locked in a cage or a small room in nearly every village. The locals would use traditional methods to cure them, like offering gifts of chickens and wine to the spirit so it might release the victim from a demonic grasp. It’s taken years for us, travelling from village to village to help these suffering people and educate the elders.”