6 June 2024

More people than usual called Thailand’s Mental Health Department’s (MHD) hotline in March and April, seeking advice about stress, Deputy Public Health Minister Sathit Pitutecha said today.

In January and February, the hotline service received 20 to 40 calls a month, but in March the number of calls went up to 600 and there  have been 315 so far in April, increases which coincide with the spread of COVID-19, he added.

51.85% of the callers were extremely stressed and most of them were women. 6.57% were seeking basic information about the virus and 37.99% were people with a history of psychological problems.

The deputy minister said that the MHD has also opened a hotline for frontline medical personnel, responsible for fighting the contagion, to provide them with moral support.

MHD director-general Dr. Kiatpoom Wongrachit said there has also been a surge in mental health problems and stress due to the economic crisis.

In three previous surveys, he said that, on average, medical personnel were more stressed than normal, but he noted that stigma has become an issue for some of those who have recovered from coronavirus, as they felt rejected or stigmatized by other people.