“If I like the correspondence of Dostoyevsky and Baudelaire so much, it is because it revolves mainly around money and illness, the only ‘fiery’ subjects. The rest hardly matters.”CIORAN, Cahiers : 1957-1972
COVID-19 is not the only epidemic that has hit Thailand, as the economic distress caused by the coronavirus is leading more and more Thais into despair. The urban poor, some left without an income and others overlooked by government financial-aid programmes, see no other option than to kill themselves.
Thailand is well known for having one of the highest wealth inequalities in the world and one of the highest suicide rates in Southeast Asia. In fact, suicide ranks second among the non-natural causes of death in the country, after traffic accidents, and is more common than homicide, according to government statistics. Do the alarming numbers hide an underlying mental-illness epidemic? Is the kingdom doing enough to stem the problem?