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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Thailand battling mental health concerns caused by the pandemic

Cita Catellya

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Thailand battling mental health concerns caused by the pandemic | Thaiger

Job losses, bankruptcies, sickness and fear are just a few of the side-affects felt by the Covid-19 pandemic. For many in Thailand and all over the world, this has a profound impact on the mental health of everyday people. The suicide rate in Thailand has also seen a spike, with 22% more suicides recorded in the first half of 2020 when compared to the same period in 2019. A sharp increase not witnessed since the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis.

Even before the pandemic struck, Thailand was on record as having the most suicides of any country in SE Asia. As per WHO data, in 2019 Thailand’s suicide rate was 14.4 per 100k population, compared to a global average of 10.5 per 100k population.

Thailand’s tourism industry has been hit the hardest, having made up 12% of the country’s GDP before the international travel bans took their hold. Thailand welcomed 39m tourists in 2019, the outlook for 2021 is looking especially grim, with tourism officials aiming for just 5 million international arrivals. Even this number is looking overly optimistic now.

Many of the staff impacted by the lack of liquidity in the tourism sector have been able to benefit from some government support, however, those unregistered in the social security system have not been so fortunate. Who are these people? You guessed it, Thailand’s sex workers and the migrant workers, mostly from neighbouring Myanmar.

Whilst many of the sex workers left the hotspots of Bangkok, Pattaya and Phuket to move back to their home towns in the provinces, many stayed put. The entrepreneurial bar owners were able to find alternative work for some of their staff, with the rise of the ‘live stream‘ – punters are able to interact with bar girls over a webcam live stream, helping them to earn some money. But nowhere near the amounts they’d became accustomed to.

The sharp decline of income may not appear to have any impact on the outside, but deep down the mental health of many of these sex workers and migrant workers has been severely impacted. Several mobile applications have been developed recently, including the Mental Health Check Up app by The Department of Mental Health, however, adoption remains low.

SOURCE: Channel News Asia

For anyone suffering mental health issues in Thailand, please call The Samaritans of Thailand on (02) 713-6791 or the Department of Mental Health Hotline on 1323 (Thai).

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10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Joe

    Saturday, March 20, 2021 at 5:00 pm

    You did not mention that 60% of Thailand’s workforce consists of informal workers who did not get any assistance at all. The people who did get something got a pityful small amount for 3 months.

  2. Avatar

    toby andrews

    Saturday, March 20, 2021 at 5:29 pm

    I do not think is is totally due to the pandemic, I think it is due to the Thai government handling of the pandemic.
    They have acted like a mad elephant in a market, wrecking all normal ways of life for Thai citizens, with bans one after another, ridiculous, unreasonable, stupid bans, such as no walking on the beach but walking on a path next to the beach allowed.
    The effect of this stupidity is that Thais cannot work, cannot make money, but that does not bother the authorities, they still make plenty.
    Here in Cambodia the suicide rate is about 6 percent against Thailand’s 15 percent.
    This is because although there have been Covid restrictions, they have been light and reasonable.
    Last year there were about 5000 suicides in Thailand. How many deaths from Covid?
    I am not suggesting there should have not been some restrictions, but the idiotic restrictions imposed by this fake democratic government, I claim, contributed a lot to these suicides.

  3. Avatar

    Bill

    Saturday, March 20, 2021 at 7:32 pm

    yes toby. but 100 people have died from covid. completely unacceptable.

  4. Avatar

    dispensed

    Saturday, March 20, 2021 at 8:16 pm

    @toby andrews
    I think that’s true of almost every government. They’re doing far more damage than the virus itself. 1 or 2 people in 1000 will die of covid. This is like tossing a a brick in a swimming pool and trying to measure how much the water rises. Unfortunately, our *outstanding* news media (*rolls eyes*) is hellbent on convincing everyone that this thing is a tsunami of death.
    Politicians feel pressured to overreact to placate the public’s fear, or in some cases exploit the public’s fear to defeat incumbents.

    What we have now is a crisis of media-driven mass hysteria and subsequent dissolution of our way of life. I suppose we should’ve seen this coming as the warning signs were there for decades. Exponential growth in mass media has coincided with a rapid decline in objectivity and accountability. Unfortunately, most of us continued to believe that the media, despite its glaring shortcomings, still had a highly respected role to play as part of the “fourth estate”, necessary for the proper functioning of democracy. Boy, were we wrong!

    They’ve completely lost sight of reality. 2 million children die of diarrhea every year: that’s last year, this year, and next year.

  5. Avatar

    lou

    Saturday, March 20, 2021 at 10:14 pm

    at last some news talking numbers over the suicides due to Covid restrictions and its far from over… a couple of friends tried 2 and 3 times having lost everything then failed to make the final trials, they will try again out of hospitals, sure ! then for sure a lot more should be recorded. At this time about only 3 times JUST AS THE REGULAR NUMBERS more than the covid casualties mainly finalizing lives of elderlies with health problems. The people suiciding now and before are due to the non sense of positive thinking about any possible fine and correct future life, see the stats results before covid !!! Why does such ratio is leading the other Asian nations ? surely not only for mostly loving problems or failing projects but most probably partly due government’s dictatorial maneers against people true freedom and restricted education costly system

  6. Avatar

    viccc

    Saturday, March 20, 2021 at 10:48 pm

    Not surprised about mental illness,when I see people driving motorcycle with mask and without helmet.

  7. Avatar

    Peter Nielsen

    Saturday, March 20, 2021 at 11:25 pm

    “What we have now is a crisis of media-driven mass hysteria and subsequent dissolution of our way of life.”

    100% agree. Unbelievably, so much power they have!

  8. Avatar

    Clive Goodwin

    Sunday, March 21, 2021 at 3:52 am

    In the U.K. The ONS records 605,000 deaths for year ending 2020. Taking into account differences in population, this puts 2020 at 35th place out of the last 50 years, that is, 34 out of the last 50 years have had worse death rates. Proportional response? The office of national statistics figures are the only reliable way of assessing the manipulation of data that has gone on to justify government response.

  9. Avatar

    Roger Bruce

    Sunday, March 21, 2021 at 9:55 am

    In my trips to Thailand over the years I have to say that the virus has nothing to do with this
    Thais have had mental problems for years …mainly from too much drinking and drugs
    Good Luck Thailand

  10. Avatar

    Manu

    Monday, March 22, 2021 at 1:22 am

    Another of my comment published but then taken out. Thaiger is a business not journalism. End!!!

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Cita Catellya is a journalist and content writer who covers a range of topics from medical and property to leisure and tourism. Her career began as a copywriter, where she worked with several brands in Indonesia to help them increase their online presence.

Phuket

Expats condemn Phuket’s “xenophobic” rapid-test payment policy

Maya Taylor

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Expats condemn Phuket’s “xenophobic” rapid-test payment policy | Thaiger
PHOTO: Flickr / dronepicr

Expats living in Thailand are up in arms after Phuket officials confirmed that foreigners arriving on the island would have to pay for a rapid Covid-19 test that is free for Thais. The testing requirement is part of new restrictions now in force to combat the spread of the virus. However, it is not the cost of the test – 500 baht – that has angered so many expats, but the fact that officials see nothing wrong with charging people based on their nationality.

On Monday it was announced that EVERYONE arriving in Phuket would have to pay 300 baht if they needed the ‘rapid covid test’. But that was amended the next day. Now we have the latest example of 2-tier pricing in Thailand (below).

The news was shared by travel blogger Richard Barrow on his Facebook page and has so far generated over 430 comments (and still growing), most of them furious…

“Unbelievable. I know Thailand is xenophobic, but for the authorities to do that is an absolute disgrace. They can piss off. I’ll take my business elsewhere in future.”

“I pay Thai taxes, I have for 16 years! am happy to bring my money elsewhere then!”

“Phuketians: “Tourists please come back.” Also Phuketians: “500b khap.”

It was not just foreigners commenting however, with at least one Thai person condemning the policy…

“I feel so so ashamed of how my country (or its government) so desperately wants more money to continue their corruption. Any possible ways they can rip you off – they will do shamelessly.”

Effective yesterday, anyone flying in to Phuket from elsewhere in the country must take a rapid Covid-19 test, unless they have taken a negative PCR test within the last 72 hours or can prove they’ve received both doses of a Covid-19 vaccine. With less than 1% of the country vaccinated – almost none of them foreigners – the second requirement is unlikely to be met by many.

Foreigners who have to take the rapid test, regardless of whether they are tax-paying work permit holders or retirees contributing to the economy, long-term residents or married to a Thai, will have to pay 500 baht. For Thais, it is free. The focus of expat anger is not the cost, but the principle, which is being roundly condemned as xenophobic.

Foreigners employed in the Kingdom in particular, are angered, given that they have been paying tax for years and have social security coverage. In response, Phuket health officials have issued an “explanation” – that manages to explain very little.

Expats condemn Phuket’s “xenophobic” rapid-test payment policy | News by Thaiger

Meanwhile, while the new restrictions apply to everyone arriving by air, for those arriving by road, only people coming from the high-risk “red” provinces need to meet the entry requirements.

And, just as a footnote, if your rapid covid test conducted by airport officials happens to come back positive you will be whisked away to a Phuket field hospital for a 14 day stay.

Expats condemn Phuket’s “xenophobic” rapid-test payment policy | News by ThaigerSOURCE: TPN

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

No one answered PM Prayut Chan-o-cha’s calls to Covid-19 hotlines

Thaiger

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No one answered PM Prayut Chan-o-cha’s calls to Covid-19 hotlines | Thaiger
Photo via Wikimedia

No one answered PM Prayut Chan-o-cha’s calls to the country’s Covid-19 hotlines. The prime minister is now ordering more staff to work for both the 1668 and 1669 Covid-19 hotlines to make sure calls don’t go unanswered. There is now an official LINE account primarily for Covid-19 patients requesting hospital beds after the hotlines were “overwhelmed” with callers, a spokesperson said.

After both of his calls to the hotlines went unanswered, Prayut says he wants to look into how the hotlines are managed.

“I tried both numbers, but nobody answered. I want to find out if this is because there are too few health personnel manning the lines, or if they are too busy tending to patients in hospitals.”

With the recent wave of infections at a record high with more than 18,000 active cases, more than doubling the last wave’s peak, hospitals have turned down Covid patients due to a shortage of beds. Recent reports say some Covid patients have been denied a ride in an ambulance. Prayut says he wants both problems to be dealt with immediately.

“I want the Public Health Ministry to urgently deal with this problem. I can’t accept the fact that entire families are getting infected because they are being denied medical help.”

A spokesperson for the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration said at a recent press conference that there are thousands of calls made to the 2 hotline numbers and not enough people to answer.

Covid-19 patients seeking a hospital bed can send a LINE message to @sabaideebot with their name, lab results, ID number, telephone number and address.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Covid UPDATE: 1,470 new Covid-19 infections, 7 deaths, provincial totals

Thaiger

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Covid UPDATE: 1,470 new Covid-19 infections, 7 deaths, provincial totals | Thaiger
Photo via Facebook/ศูนย์ข้อมูล COVID-19

1,470 new Covid-19 infections and 7 deaths were reported today by the CCSA. 446 new cases are in Bangkok which remains the hotzone of new infections, although the latest outbreak has now spread to most Thai provinces. Out of the 7 deaths, one was a 24 year old Thai woman with a history of visiting an entertainment venue in the southern province Surat Thani where other Covid-19 infections were reported.

The young woman’s death is a rare case as the vast majority of Covid-related deaths in Thailand are the elderly or older adults with pre-existing conditions. Health officials say the woman suffered from obesity and died 3 days after testing positive for the virus. At present, there are 18,148 patients in state care… 14,555 in hospitals and 3,593 in field hospitals.

Since the start of the pandemic last year, the CCSA has reported a total of 48,113 Covid-19 infections and 117 coronavirus-related deaths.

The other Covid-related fatalities include…

  • 68 year old Thai woman with pre-existing conditions of asthma
  • 83 year old man from Bangkok with pre-existing conditions of high blood pressure
  • 80 year old woman with pre-existing conditions of diabetes
  • 45 year old woman in Bangkok with high blood pressure
  • 59 year old man in Bangkok with pre-existing conditions of diabetes
  • 86 year old man in Bangkok with pre-existing conditions of heart disease

Here are the provincial totals for today, as published by the NBT…

Covid UPDATE: 1,470 new Covid-19 infections, 7 deaths, provincial totals | News by Thaiger

Covid UPDATE: 1,470 new Covid-19 infections, 7 deaths, provincial totals | News by Thaiger

SOURCE: CCSA | Pattaya News | Nation Thailand

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