Where to find mental health support in Thailand as an expat
Taking care of your mental health as an expat in a new country can be challenging. Whether you’re living in Thailand or often travel for work, language barriers, cultural differences, and being away from your loved ones can leave you feeling stressed and overwhelmed. During COVID-19, mental health concerns have also escalated with more and more people experiencing the negative effects of the ongoing pandemic.
The good news is that mental health services are available to help you achieve a state of balance. This Pacific Prime Thailand article explores where you can find mental health support in Thailand as an expat.
Mental health treatment in Thailand
There are many reasons why people develop mental health conditions or experience mental health problems. Common factors that influence mental health include:
- Social isolation or loneliness
- Severe or long-term stress
- Substance abuse or misuse
No matter the reason, it’s important to seek help so you can start to feel better. Remember there’s nothing wrong with asking for help. In fact, mental health checkups for your psychiatric health and emotional wellbeing are just as important as physical health checkups. The following are some of the best resources in Thailand for expats dealing with mental health issues.
If you’re feeling depressed, lonely, or suicidal, The Samaritans of Thailand have an English hotline that you can call daily at 02 713 6791. The free service gives you access to staff who are trained in suicide prevention, though you don’t have to be suicidal to benefit from the hotline. Simply talking to someone can make a big difference – especially someone who is trained to listen carefully while you share your problems.
Once you leave a voicemail on the English hotline, a staff member will call you back within 24 hours. You don’t have to give your real name since the service is anonymous.
In the event of a life-threatening mental health crisis, it’s best to go straight to the emergency room of an international hospital and ask to see the psychiatrist on duty. Bangkok Hospital (along with Manarom Hospital mentioned below) has mental health services and facilities for these situations including inpatient care, outpatient services, day programs, and counseling.
The relatively new Chitrak Center at Bangkok Hospital focuses on treating, diagnosing, and rehabilitating patients with mental health issues.
Manarom Hospital is a leading private hospital that specializes in mental and behavioral healthcare in Thailand. The hospital offers a wide variety of mental health services, including adult psychiatry and day programs for individuals and groups. The multidisciplinary staff are trained in dealing with an array of mental health conditions and concerns including substance abuse, family problems, PTSD, and behavioral problems.
Psychological Services International (PSI)
PSI is a Bangkok-based mental health provider that has been offering counseling, therapy, and assessment services to expats since 2001. Counselors at PSI are trained as psychotherapists, psychologists, and social workers, which means they can also help if you’re looking for medication for a mental health condition. Staff at PSI speak English, French, and Thai. PSI serves clients outside of the capital city through online services as well.
New Counseling Service (NCS)
The only fully licensed counseling center in Bangkok, NCS provides mental health services, counseling, and training to expats and locals alike. Operating for over 20 years, NCS offers support for a wide range of mental health issues from anxiety and depression to crisis intervention and grief counseling. Staff at NCS speak many languages aside from Thai and English, including Japanese, Mandarin, Cantonese, and Dutch.
Mental health emergency tips
If you feel like you need help with your mental health concern, the first step you can take is to call the Samaritans. Remember that it is a callback service, so you will hear from them within 24 hours.
The next thing you want to do is see a counselor as soon as possible. Email one of the aforementioned counseling centers (PSI and NCS) or a provider of your choice and let them know that you’re looking for help as soon as possible.
However, if you’re in a life-threatening crisis, visit the psychiatrist on duty at an international hospital right away. Hospitals will ask you for insurance or payment, but don’t let that stop you from putting your health first. While the previously mentioned Bangkok and Manarom Hospitals have dedicated psychiatrist units, any psychiatrist can help in an emergency.
Insurance for mental health services
Whether your insurance plan covers psychiatric care depends on your exact policy. If your health insurance plan does cover these services, you’ll likely have to wait before you can use it to visit a psychiatrist due to waiting periods.
Note that travel insurance typically doesn’t cover mental health issues. Similarly, international health insurance in Thailand may require co-payments for mental health services. Your best bet is to secure a comprehensive insurance plan that covers all of your costs when visiting a psychiatrist.
Be sure to carefully research your options to ensure you can access all the services you’re after.
How Pacific Prime Thailand can help
Selecting the right health insurance plan can be overwhelming. That’s why many expats turn to us for help. With over two decades of experience in the insurance industry, Pacific Prime Thailand can compare health insurance plans for your needs and budget. We are happy to assist you in finding the best expat health insurance in Thailand or any other type of health insurance plan.
Contact us for unbiased advice and a free quote today.
In her free time, she’s likely to be writing poetry and prose, geeking out on her latest interests, reading, or practicing yoga.
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