Vol. 2 No. 2 (2023): Promoting Integrative Healthcare: Education, Policy, and Management

Review Article

Thailand’s mental health system: From tradition to modernity

Jutharat Thongsalab
Boromarajonani College of Nursing, Surin, Thailand


Thailand, mental health, health policy, social planning, community health service

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Accepted for publication: 2023-12-12
Peer reviewed: Yes

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Objective: This article aims to explore the intricate journey by examining key historical milestones, existing challenges, and potential future directions in Thai mental health care.

Methods: A narrative review approach was employed, utilizing diverse sources such as PubMed, Google Scholar, and Thai libraries. Information collected in 2023 is presented descriptively, chronicling Thailand’s evolution in mental health.

Results: Across centuries, Thailand’s mental health history unveils an early acknowledgment of mental health issues during the Sukhothai Kingdom. Traditional healing methods rooted in Buddhism and herbal remedies characterized ancient Thai societies. The shift to Western influence under King Rama V initiated the first mental hospital, integrating traditional Thai and Western medical practices. Thailand’s contemporary era witnessed substantial progress in mental health initiatives, including legislative reforms, community-based care, and efforts addressing specific demographic challenges. However, pressing issues persist, including a surge in mental health issues, alarming dementia rates, and professional burnout.

Conclusion: Thailand’s mental health system shows a transformative journey from spiritual interpretations to Western integration and a current globalized approach. Despite remarkable progress, the nation faces critical challenges. The National Mental Health Development Plan (2018-2037) outlines a comprehensive strategy focusing on prevention, improved services, education, innovation, and regulatory support.

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Declaration of Conflicting Interest

The author declared no conflict of interest in this study.



Author’s Contribution

This article is solely written by the corresponding author.

Data Availability Statement

Not Applicable.

Ethical Consideration

Not applicable.

Declaration of the Use of AI in Scientific Writing

None declared.


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