The Cabinet has authorized a budget of 686 million baht for a mental health care network development project to address Thailand’s deficit of psychiatrists and psychotherapists.
Dr. Amporn Benjaponpitak, Director-General of the Mental Health Department (DMH), stated that Thailand now has roughly 800 psychiatrists, which is extremely alarming considering the country’s growing patient population. With one psychiatrist for every 100,000 individuals, a patient may have to wait over six months before obtaining consultation.
Dr. Amporn emphasized that Thailand’s ratio fell short of the World Health Organization’s recommendation of one psychiatrist per 10,000 persons. She also stated that in order to achieve WHO requirements, the country would need to spend at least ten years producing five times the number of psychiatric graduates it presently produces.
Aside from a lack of people, the director-general underlined that a lack of societal welfare also contributes to insufficient mental health care. She stated that experts in these disciplines are underpaid, highlighting the fact that employees on mental health hotlines who deal with significant mental diseases such as suicidal thoughts on a regular basis are paid at the general rate owing to a lack of correct classification.
She emphasized the significance of addressing these problems and broadening proactive initiatives centered on community development or preventative actions.