My favorite educational aspect of this trip as of now has been the mental health lecture at a Psychiatric hospital facility in Chiang Mai. We learned about the approach psychologists in the institution take to treat mental illness, what avenues they use for financing and supporting the endeavors, and how mental health is perceived in Thai society in general. The fascinating thing about the Thai perception of mental health treatment is that psychologists create many opportunities within the setting for their patients to establish a community and perform duties that make them feel like they are contributing members of society. In other words, they give patients the freedom to grow and learn and the confidence to believe that they can and will recover within the walls of the facility. Everything from gardening to sewing to playing music is utilized. The treatment plan itself is excellent. The real problem is getting patients to that point. We learned from the lecture that Thai society seems to have a problem understanding the existence and gravity of the situation with mental health. We discussed that this may be because Thai people are so open and accepting of so many lifestyles… they do not perceive mental illness as a problem, but rather “another way of living.” The presenters at this lecture were both very engaging and spoke excellent English, so I enjoyed it very much.
I will continue to post further on some of the highlights of the trip, what I am learning in the form of families and the health care system in Thailand, as well as the current status on my personal growth.