PHUKET: The number of suicides in Phuket this year has been higher than in most previous years, Dr Boonriang Chuchaisangrat, Chief of the Phuket Health Office, told the Gazette today. In previous years, between 12 and 20 suicides a year have been recorded, he said, but this year so far there have been “more than 20”. Of these, the highest number was among Thais who have moved to Phuket from other provinces. The second-highest incidence of suicide has been among foreigners, both resident and tourists, while the group least affected is people from Phuket. Dr Boonriang and the Suicide Prevention Committee believe that the rise is due mostly to economic factors. He said that although Phuket’s economy is better than that of most of Thailand, there are still Thais living here who face significant problems. The rising number of foreigners killing themselves, he surmised, was probably because some of them had financial problems not only in Phuket but also in their countries of origin. In addition, the number of foreigners living in or visiting Phuket had risen, which would naturally lead to a rise in the number of suicides. For Thais there is a hotline, manned 24 hours a day, which people who feel suicidal may call. The number is 01-6065347. Dr Boonriang said that the suicide rate could also be reduced by encouraging people to join in sports, recreational or religious activities.
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