Global citizens are now facing a mental health crisis, with a quarter of the global population – over 450 million people – experiencing mental health issues with tremendous impacts on their daily lives

Global citizens are now facing a mental health crisis, with a quarter of the global population – over 450 million people – experiencing mental health issues with tremendous impacts on their daily lives

          Information from the Department of Mental Health, Ministry of Public Health suggests that mental health and psychiatric issues are common health issues. It is estimated that a quarter of the world’s population, specifically approximately 450 million individuals, experience psychiatric issues at a certain point in their lives. These mental health issues have huge impacts on their abilities to function and co-exist in society, as well as affect their quality of live. In Thailand, it has been found that adolescents, working-age adults, and the elderly are highly prone to mental health issues.

          However, in the present day, there exist a variety of health risk factors which can impact individuals’ health behavior and environment such as the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic and digital disruption affecting their ways of life and attitudes. Inevitable challenges resulting from these factors are stress, anxiety, and depression.

ThaiHealth and its efforts to promote mental health among Thai people…

          Mental health refers to a state of mental well-being in which individuals can manage or control their emotions to prevent frustration or intrapsychic conflicts and can adapt to society and the environment with happiness. Alternatively, it entails a happy mental state where they can function in their work effectively and make contributions to society. Mental and physical health are, in fact, intertwined; poor mental health can be a risk factor for chronic physical illness. Additionally, mental health is linked to the consumption of tobacco, alcohol, and abuse of addictive substances, all of which can contribute to effects on individuals’ health and bring about domestic violence.

          Considering this, ThaiHealth has established strategic goals to determine the focus and scope of mental health promotion. This initiative entails developing the potential of individuals with good mental health or enabling the general population to maintain mental health consistently as well as fostering environments and societies conducive to good mental health.

          Mental health promotion is aimed at fostering good health among Thai people. Its initiative contributing to health determinants comprises seven primary goals and additional goals to address potential health concerns in the next decade. Altogether, it consists of eight strategic goals to promote good health among people.

          In fact, mental health promotion is identified as one of these main strategic goals. It places emphasis on increasing the proportion of individuals with good mental health. Its aims are to achieve mental health outcomes and simultaneously promote physical health. The scopes of this initiative entail increasing the proportion of mentally healthy individuals in vulnerable groups and enhancing mental health in high-risk areas.


Promoting Mental Health:

Towards Empowering Thai People with Wisdom, Positive Emotions,

and Happiness to Lead a Fulfilling Life in Society

          Health Risk Control II Section under ThaiHealth has endorsed the country’s main policy, namely the Mental Health Act (No. 2) B.E. 2562 (2019). This particular act has established measures to protect people through promoting mental health and controlling mental health-threatening factors. This is also in accordance with the National Mental Health Development Plan (2018-2037), advocating for Thai people to possess wisdom, positive emotions, and happiness, thereby contributing to a life of fulfillment in society.

Implementing the concept based on the Ottawa Charter in formulating strategies…

          Holistic mental health promotion involves equipping individuals with immunity and resilience in grappling with various situations, spanning personal, family, and community levels. Particularly, it places importance on uniting and empowering efforts, working across different areas, and linking mental health issues with various sectors, which serves as a key factor in enabling people to adapt to new lifestyles. The concept in accordance with the Ottawa Charter is drawn on to define strategies as follows: 1) strengthening community resilience; 2) developing public policies; 3) implementing social and environmental transformations; 4) increasing individual capabilities foe behavioral and lifestyle changes; and 5) developing healthcare service systems.

          Additionally, ThaiHealth has united efforts with both national and international network partners in establishing the Thailand Institute for Mental Health Sustainability (TIMS), dedicated to advancing public policies and innovations in promoting sustainable mental health for Thai people and society. ThaiHealth has supported the operation of the ASEAN University Network-Health Promotion Network, also known as AUN-HPN, since 2016 with the aim of expanding the network of healthy universities in Thailand and the ASEAN region; essentially, this is to synergize efforts in fostering good health for people in all aspects of life.

          ThaiHealth focuses on promoting holistic mental health for all age groups, including children, parents, and legal guardians, through the operation of the Healthy Child, Youth, and Family Promotion Section. This is achieved through mental health promotion innovations developed collaboratively with network partners, such as an online course for child positive behavior modification Net Pa Ma or HOOK E-learning which selects in-depth and contemporary insightful topics related to children, youth and families, delivered by specialized experts, along with exercises and infographics to facilitate learning.

          As for students, ThaiHealth supports mental health promotion through the efforts of the Healthy Organization Promotion Section via Thammasat Counseling and Psychological Services Center (TCAPS) and the Future Wellness University project

          Essentially, mental health promotion is not solely the task of a single person. With this in mind, ThaiHealth remains committed, continues synergizing efforts and weaving together network partners at national and international levels, and links issues related to mental health promotion initiatives; these are carried out to strategize solutions to mental health problems, advocate for public policies, and develop innovations in mental health promotion in resonance with the global context. The shared goal involves fostering sustainable good mental health among all individuals.

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