Mental Health in Thailand: Historical and Cultural Perspectives

Part of the International and Cultural Psychology book series (ICUP)


There is evidence from over two centuries ago of temple-based treatment of mental disorders with traditional medicines and massage. Western psychiatry (moral treatment) was introduced by missionary doctor, Dan Beach Bradley, in 1835. In the twentieth century, His Majesty, King Rama V, set up a special hospital for mentally ill patients. In 1929, doctors had been sent abroad to study psychiatry and came back to teach medical students and nurses. Mental health programs have spread from hospitals to become community based. Efforts have been made to educate the public about the importance of mental health and to reduce the stigma attaching to mental disorders. A national society of psychiatrists is very active; cooperation with WHO developed; and membership of the World Mental Health Federation obtained. However, many challenges remain if services are to be sustained.


Traditional, religious care Introduction of western psychiatry From 1920s royal support for hospital development Contemporary challenge is sustaining services 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Medical Sciences, Ministry of Public HealthBangkokThailand

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