Tsunami mental health center opens

KHAO LAK: More than five months after the tsunami, the Mental Health Recovery Center (MHRC) – in Khuek Khak, Takua Pa District, Phang Nga Province, and set up at a cost of some 20 million baht – was opened on May 26 by Deputy Minister of Public Health Anutin Charnvirakul.

Dr Benjaporn Panyayong, the Director of the MHRC, told the Gazette that the center’s purpose is simple: to facilitate the psychological recovery of tsunami victims in the six affected provinces.

She added that Phang Nga was that obvious choice for the center of operations because the greatest devastation and loss of life occurred there.

According to figures released by the MHRC, 17,501 people have so far been in touch. However, Dr Benjaporn estimates that, based on evidence gathered from sampling, a further 30,000 people in the six tsunami-affected provinces may need help through counseling or medication, or a combination of both therapies.

Although the main focus of the MHRC’s attention will be on Thais, especially those languishing in camps for the displaced, Dr Benjaporn said that people of all nationalities can make use of the service.

“There are many people who are suffering from, or risk developing, psychological problems because of the tsunami,” she stated. “Depression and grief, as well as a fear of future tsunamis are rife at the moment [in the camps and badly hit areas].”

The center, in Baan Banglah Oan, Khuek Khak, will remain open for a maximum of two years. For further details call Tel: 076-423556-8 between 8:30 am and 4:30 pm daily.

Phuket News

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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