Free Mental Health Workshops for Thai Teens in February

Image: Love Frankie / Courtesy

BANGKOK — In a city where counselling sessions can run for thousands of baht per hour, free mental health workshops for teens will run for four therapeutic days.

At “The Nook” four-day workshop from Feb. 29 to March 3 at Yelo House, young people will be able to speak to mental health professionals and participate in group therapy activities for free. The event is hosted by Love Frankie, a Bangkok-based creative agency.

“Data from the Mental Health Department shows that there are currently 1 million young Thais dealing with clinical depression and around 2 million at risk of developing this and other mental illnesses,” Matt Love, one of the founders of Love Frankie said in a statement. “This situation along with the increase of suicide rates among youth in Thailand requires us to act fast and show up for the young people struggling with mental illnesses.”

The event’s details and schedule, which will include mindfulness and art therapy workshops, are yet to be released.

Department of Mental Health said on last year’s World Suicide Prevention Day – Sept. 10 – that more than 3,000 Thais of 100,000 committed suicide, or 11 to 12 people a day between 2018 and 2019. The average age was 45, with more than 80 percent men.

Although increasingly common, getting mental health treatment is still viewed with a stigma among Thais, especially among the older population. It’s not uncommon to get a response from manus pa (“super aunties”) that mental illnesses are “karma” that can be solved with a dose of Buddhism.