Lao Residents Suffer from Mental Health Issues Due to Inflation and Flooding

Mental Health Among Lao People Strained by Inflation and Flooding
FILE: this image is used only for representational purpose (photo: California Health Report)

A mental health expert raised concerns about the escalating stress caused by inflation and severe flooding in parts of the country recently, noting that the rising cost of living, coupled with increasing poverty levels, has doubled reported mental health issues, affecting people across all demographics.

In the wake of soaring inflation and recent devastating floods, a medic at Mahosot Hospital’s Mental Health Department has shed light on the escalating psychological toll this has taken on numerous individuals.

According to Vientiane Times, the medic reported that more than 70,000 residents reported having mental health challenges last year, and this number is projected to have doubled this year. A primary cause of this is the surging cost of living, resulting in heightened financial strain beyond people’s control.

The doctor explained the impacts of these challenges are not confined to any particular group; individuals from all walks of life are susceptible to experiencing mental health disorders and anxiety. The financial strain, particularly the inability to secure necessities like food, shelter, and healthcare, compounds the stress and creates a sense of hopelessness.

She points out that financial distress not only drains the energy required for healthy choices and preventive care but also initiates a chain reaction affecting various vital aspects of life.

The situation is further exacerbated for those already grappling with flooding and poverty. Their vulnerability increases as they confront additional shocks and are displaced from their regular lives. Recognizing this, mental health specialists approach distressed individuals sensitively to facilitate their ability to continue with their lives in the best way possible.

Earlier this month, a series of flooding and landslides occurred in Laos, affecting eight provinces, with a particular emphasis on the central region covering Bolikhamxay, Savannakhet, and Khammouane Provinces.

In Laos, individuals with mental health concerns can find support through the mental health units at Mahosot Hospital and 103 Military Hospital.

Mental health encompasses one’s emotional, psychological, and social well-being, impacting how individuals think, feel, and behave. It influences stress management, interpersonal relationships, and decision-making. This underscores its significance across all life stages, from childhood through adulthood.