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Research Article Open Access

Thai Flood Survivors' Perceptions of Their Mental Wellbeing and Psycho- Social Support Services Received

Abstract

Introduction: Natural disasters result in considerable harm, are often associated with loss of life and property, posing a direct threat to the well-being of a society. Flooding is a common natural disaster occurrence in Thailand, profoundly affecting the lives of those who survive. To date little is known about the mental wellbeing and experience of community support after flood disasters in Thailand. Aim: To explore the experiences of mental wellbeing and psychosocial support of flood survivors. Method: Qualitative interpretive design was employed. Informants consisted of 12 survivors who had experienced one particular flood crisis, selected by purposive sampling. The data were collected using in-depth interviews and nonparticipant observations. All informants were Buddhists. The half of survivors was educated to 14 years of age, ten of the survivors were employed and the remaining survivors were housewives. Results: Emergent themes were: (i) loneliness and anxiety; (ii) acceptance and optimism; (iii) not sleeping and physical illnesses; (iv) caring for each other and ourselves. Implications for practice: Future public health disaster planning in Thailand must include targeted psychological preparation of key frontline health workers and the provision of mental health survival kits. Of crucial importance is using Thai meditation techniques, Thai informed psychotherapeutic training coupled with flood related social assistance that draws on village neighbourhood support, for survivors and their families. In Thailand, psychiatric nurses and emergency disaster health care providers need protocols for addressing the specific psychosocial needs of disaster survivors, specifically the potential for loneliness and anxiety.

Vineekarn Kongsuwan, Holroyd Eleanor, Wandee Sutharungsee and Wilawan Kristraksa

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