PHUKET TOWN: Dr Boonrieng Chuchaisangrat, Chief of the Phuket Provincial Health Office (PPHO), today appealed for people to be more compassionate and understanding of the mentally ill. His appeal came after five people suffering from mental illnesses were found chained up by relatives in the past 10 weeks. “We found five people who had been chained up and we’ve been treating them,” he said. But, he added, “We’re concerned that there may be more [people kept in similar conditions] who we don’t know about.” He urged the public, “If anybody sees a mentally ill person chained up, please tell us so that our team can go and treat them.” He also appealed for the mentally ill to be brought to a government hospital or to the PPHO, where qualified staff could treat them. “We have many good medicines to help these people. Once they receive treatment, they are more able to control themselves and live with other people, without harming anyone or being harmed themselves,” he said. The PPHO has joined a World Health Organization campaign, “Mental Health: Stop Exclusion – Dare to Care”, which began worldwide on April 7. Relatives of the mentally ill, or anyone with information about such a person being abused, can contact the PPHO (Tel: 01-6065347, 222914, or 211130, ext 108 or 109).
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