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How’s your mental health?

When was the last time you had your physical health check-up? What about your mental health check-up? How do you look after your mental well-being? More importantly, are you aware of your own mental health wellness?

By The Phuket News

Saturday 8 October 2022, 01:00PM

Photo: Stormseeker / Unsplash

Photo: Stormseeker / Unsplash

As defined by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), mental health includes emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel and act. The state of our mental health influences our perception, how we cope with our day-to-day stressors, how we make decisions, how we interact with others, and how we shape the community we live in.

However, we often overlook the importance of taking care of our mental well-being, without realising that mental health is also an integral component of our overall health. The mind-body connection is inseparable; a healthy mind stimulates our body to work better, and a healthy body boosts our mental wellness. Our overall well-being can only be achieved if and when the mind and the body work in sync.  

Mental health care in Phuket

One of the many things the pandemic has made clear is the state, and fragility, of our mental health. The urgent need for affordable mental health care services and easily accessible support systems cannot be overstated. The question is, does Phuket have the adequate resources to fulfil this need? 

Posts in Phuket expat groups on Facebook show time and time again the same question asked, “Where can I find an English-speaking psychologist/psychiatrist/therapist on the island?” Based on the responses given, it appears that the options are severely limited. Though online counselling services are aplenty, more viable options for face-to-face counselling are still necessary.

Bridging the gap

It’s okay to not be okay. It takes courage and strength for one to open up and be vulnerable, and seek professional help to overcome mental health struggles. Nobody should suffer alone and in silence. We, as a community, could do more to help. And we should. 

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Having a support network such as self-help groups can be essential to the healing journey. This is why I started a women’s peer support group for emotional and mental health in January 2022. The support group meets consistently every other Saturday at 10:30am for two hours at Endless Summer, a concept store and coffee shop in Phuket Town. Thai and expat women from Bang Tao to Nai Harn coming together to support one another in a safe space, bonded by shared experiences and grievances, is a powerful healing experience.

I also created a Facebook group called Mental Health Phuket to further build a supportive community in Phuket and nearby provinces. The reception from the people has been hugely positive and it’s extremely encouraging to see a community coming together for a common cause.  

To raise awareness on mental health and celebrate World Mental Health Day (Oct 10), a donation-based Mental Health Talk will be held on Sunday, Oct 9 from 2-5pm at HOMA in Samkong with 100% of the donations collected handed to the women’s peer support group. Additionally, HOMA, an ally of the women’s support group, will also give away a 35% discount code (applicable for standard rate rooms only) to all who attend the event.

Four guest speakers in the event will give a 30-minute talk followed by a Q&A at the end. Mike Miller, a certified clinical trauma professional and founder of Yatra Centre, will discuss trauma: what happened, what continues to happen and what we can do about it. Sofia Isabel Guerreiro Pablo, a parental coach and psychologist, will speak about self-love, self-care, inner power, inner strength, and the power of connection and unity. Kseniia Mochalova, a certified yoga therapist, meditation guide and hypnotherapist, will explain the power of the mind. Last but not least, Kristina Ronnquist will share her personal experience living through trauma, loss, domestic violence, addiction and recovery, and the ways these things influenced her decision to become a social worker.

Space for the event is limited. To reserve a spot, email Let’s talk about mental health and start the conversation!

By Milla Budiarto

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