Mental Support ... Tsunami


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Project of continuous provision
of mental intervention and rehabilitation
for Tsunami victims

Corresponding Division: The Department of Mental Health of the Ministry of Public Health

In accordance to the severe earthquakes, on 26 December 2004 at the center point of Sumatra Island, Indonesia, many provinces along the coast in Southern Thailand were affected. Many people were assassinated and some are still undiscoverable by the first disaster in Thailand, which is known Tsunami. This was the greatest loss within the century for many people. There were many sectors, including private, public, and individual, expressed their intention to assist Tsunami victims post-event. However, the incident caused Tsunami affected individuals more than depression that we can imagine. The experience and feeling of loss is still traumatic and not easily forgettable for them. After Tsunami left our land silently, the number of supportive divisions tended to decrease as everybody lost their confidence about their future. It is pertained to the view that Tsunami victims, especially children, appeared to have depression, anxiety, and some desired to commit suicide. World Health Organization (WHO) stated that this issue is very important as it is likely to affect children’s future. Thus, it is necessary to rehabilitate mental state of Tsunami victims promptly.
The role of the Department of Mental Health of the Ministry of Public Health is to provide the best psychological care for everyone regardless of nations, age, and gender. Thus we established the Mental Health Center (MHC) for Thai Tsunami Disaster with great support from the Ministry of Finances with public allowance of 5,396,600 Baht. This facilitates the intervention and rehabilitation for Tsunami victims. In order to accompany Tsunami victims to balanced lifestyle after experiencing of traumatic event, they are needed to provide with special care and corresponding psychological treatments continuously. Therefore, the Department of Mental Health has organized the MHC for Thai Tsunami Disaster in continuous phase.

1. To allow Tsunami victims to receive a perfect-matched treatment with their psychological condition.
2. To provide psychological intervention and remedy for Tsunami victims.
3. To deliver a traumatic education to individuals and the relevant networks in order to protect, provide assistance, and monitor Tsunami victims.
4. To establish a Mental Health Care Center for Tsunami victims at Takua Pa, Phang-nga.
5. To expand psychological education in which elucidates people to remain themselves away from crisis problems.

Target areas:
Operate within Tsunami affected areas, which are Phuket, Phang-nga, Krabi, Trang, and Satun.

Operative Timeline:
- Budget year 2005 (January – September 2005)
- Budget year 2006 (October 2005 – September 2006)

1. Organize seminars/framework of the intervention and rehabilitation delivering to Tsunami victims
2. Produce and develop technological medium promoting mental health under critical situation.
3. Organize training programs for experts and volunteers
4. Long term examination, analyzing, and monitoring for the consequences that each Tsunami victim may experience in future and suitable intervention.
5. Develop monitoring system within Tsunami affected areas
6. Provide psychological services to the victims under the MHC for Thai Tsunami Disaster operation
7. Organize campaign to promote psychological education to population
8. Establish the mental health center at Takua Pa, Phang-nga, in an attempt to provide extended care for affected population, specifically Phang-nga, Krabi, Phuket and Ranong. The structure of management, responsibilities, and location are addressed as followed:

Structure of Management
1. One Director of the Center (the director of Mental Health Center 11, Surat thani)
2. Three specialists are assigned full time
3. Two teams are placed to analyze, examine, and monitor long term post-Tsunami conditions. Each team consists of 10 people from the Department of Mental Health. Each team takes turn to work every fortnight.

Role, duty, and responsibility of Mental Health Center
1. To provide medical, psychosocial services, mental rehabilitation, and refer Tsunami victims to the corresponding division when necessary.
2. Search, register, monitor, and provide consistent collaboration to other teams in the same target area.
3. Develop and promote psychological education and strategy to cope with crisis to experts and area team staff
4. Our role is also responsible to the assigned jobs from the Ministry of Public Health

3 levels of double commercial complex is rented and used as the Center at Takua Pa, Phang-nga. It was renovated for the operation of the team. The bottom floor provides counseling services. The second was decorated to be an office and a conference room. The top floor is arranged to accommodate team staff, which has a capacity of 20 people.

Department of Mental Health, Ministry of Public Health.
Tivanon Rd., Maung, Nonthaburi, 11000. Tel 0-1975-1913, Fax 0-2951-1369.
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