11 July 2024

About 1.5 million Thai youths, aged over 15, suffered from depression in 2021 and the number of depression and psychological disorder cases in Thailand is increasing by 1-2% each year, according to Dr. Apichat Jariyavilas, spokesman for the Department of Mental Health.

While depression in the United States and Europe affects about 10% of the population, he said that the rate in Thailand ranges from 1-2%, adding, however, that the rate is increasing, as witnessed by the rising number of patients seeking medical counselling or treatment.

Dr. Apichat noted that depression or psychological disorders may be rising because, previously, those who suffered from these disorders did not know and did not seek medical counselling or treatment. Today, however, more people go to see doctors when they feel that they might have a psychological problem.

There are various ways to treat the disorders, depending on the diagnosis, but the most common is to administer medicines, said the spokesman, adding that there are other rehabilitation treatments, such as advising patients to turn to activities they like such as sports, arts or music.

According to the Mental Health Department, only 28% of people suffering from depression now have access to medical treatment, with more cases among women than men.

The attempted suicide rate among depressed patients is 20 times higher than normal and about 70% of them die prematurely. The successful suicide rate among men is higher than among women.

The attempted suicide rate among depressed patients in Thailand averages six per hour or approaching 53,000 cases a year, with about 4,000 fatalities.

The World Health Organisation has forecast, in its Provisional Agenda Item 6-2 from 2011-2029, that depression will become the World’s second most common cause of suicide among people in the 15-29 age group.