Survey finds 8% of Thai youth at risk of suicide

Survey finds 8% of Thai youth at risk of suicide

Students gather for morning assemble at Wat Rajabopit School in Bangkok on May 17. (Photo: Nutthawat Wicheanbut)
Students gather for morning assemble at Wat Rajabopit School in Bangkok on May 17. (Photo: Nutthawat Wicheanbut)

The Mental Health Department survey has concluded that 7.99% of Thai youth are at risk of suicide and 5.34% at risk of developing depression, with Covid-19 a key catalyst.

Director-general Amporn Benjapolpitak said on Wednesday that the department surveyed people under  18 years of age from Feb 12 to May 23.

The findings confirmed the report by the local branch of the World Health Organization that as many as one in seven Thai youth now had mental health problems and that Covid-19 outbreaks had doubled the number.

Mental health problems that occurred during teen years could have a prolonged impact into adulthood, Dr Amporn said.

To cope, the Mental Health Department was expanding its mental treatment service for young people through schools and universities, she said.

The department had introduced its School Health HERO project to 3,444 schools under the Office of the Basic Education Commission. Teachers were trained to offer initial care to students with mental health problems, and they could seek advice from officials of the department for difficult cases.

Teachers had monitored the mental health risk of 230,891 students, 69.34% of whom had their mental problems alleviated, she said.

Nanthawadee Worawasuwat, the department's director for mental health promotion, said the project was being expanded to universities. It was already introduced to 38 campuses of Rajabhat University.

The department would sign a memorandum of understanding on the project's implementation with the campuses next month, she said.

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