“A Journey out of Madness” is the theme of an afternoon event conceived and staged by Siamentis as part of a communication program to raise public awareness about schizophrenia. It was estimated that around 600,000 people, or around 1% of the Thai population suffered from this particular mental disorder. Schizophrenia is a psychiatric diagnosis that describes a mental disorder characterized by abnormalities in the perception or expression of reality. It most commonly manifest as auditory hallucinations, paranoid or bizzare delusions or disorganized speed and thinking. Not only patients who suffer from these conditions, their families also shoulder the burden of care, healthcare costs, and risks of violent acts committed by the patients themselves. Both patients and their families also have to face social adversity and discrimination.
The idea to stage the afternoon event is to bring policy maker and the media to come face to face with former patients – listening to their stories and engaging in a dialogue to bring about an understanding of what’s it like to suffer as patients.
The theme of the event was taken from a book “The Quiet Room: A Journey out of the Torment of Madness” written by Lori Schiller, a former patient herself to describe her experience suffering from the conditions and her journey to recovery. Khun Kruewan Thiengtham, also a former patient, translated the book into Thai and joined the discussion in the afternoon.
H.E. Anuthin Charnveerakul, Deputy Minister of Public Health, members of the press, and several hundreds guests attended the event held at SCB Park Plaza. The event generated a lot of coverage in the press and raised the importance of the care for mental health patients on the ministry’s agenda. Subsequently, the draft of the Mental Health Act received full support from the ministry and was submitted for deliberation in parliament.