Thai initiative Kru Care Jai launched to tackle teen mental health issues

Picture courtesy of matichon

An initiative to address the increasing mental health issues among Thai adolescents has been launched under the name of Kru Care Jai. This programme, initiated by the Public Health Ministry, seeks to provide training to teachers to enhance their abilities in curbing mental health problems in students.

The launch comes as data suggests that Thai youth are increasingly vulnerable to mental illness, with self-harm being a conceivable risk for 17% of this demographic.

The Public Health Minister, Dr Cholnan Srikaew, disclosed that Thai adolescents between the ages of 13 and 17 are facing escalating mental health threats. This is predominantly due to harmful elements such as behavioural, emotional, and social challenges, which can lead to enduring psychiatric issues.

The Department of Mental Health (DMH) data for 2022 substantiates this claim. It reveals that roughly one in seven teenagers aged from 10 to 19 years and nearly one in 14 children aged five to nine years in Thailand are grappling with mental, nervous, and emotional disorders.

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Alarmingly, 17.6% of young people aged between 13 and 17 years have contemplated self-harm, with suicide ranking as the third leading cause of death among teenagers. Factors contributing to these mental health challenges include bullying, violence, abandonment, and abuse, reported Bangkok Post.

The Kru Care Jai programme forms part of the 2018 to 2037 national strategy, which aims to develop and strengthen human resource potential. The DMH is responsible for the execution of this strategy.

Dr Cholnan affirmed that the Public Health Ministry will be collaborating with the Ministry of Education and its networks to provide teachers with essential knowledge about mental health. The initial phase will take place in schools and educational institutions in Bangkok and the surrounding areas, said Dr Opas Karnkawinpong, the Public Health Ministry permanent secretary.

“The scheme will concentrate on crucial skills such as in-depth listening, identifying mental health risks and preventing violence and bullying in schools.”

Dr Opas emphasised that today’s youth require more than academic knowledge. They need individuals who can listen and communicate with them empathetically and effectively.

To supplement this initiative, the DMH has developed an application named School Health Hero. This app will help monitor students who may be battling potential mental health issues. Teachers with concerns can seek online consultation and support via the app. The authorities report that during the 2022 academic year, 73% of students deemed at risk received assistance and showed improvement through the app.

Thailand News

Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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