of PROPOSAL SUMMARY
Individual traits and environment contibute to mental illness and mental
The Department of Mental Health of the Thai Ministry of Public Health (DMH) has calculated the mental health burdens for the county, as well as dealing with the specific mental disorders and problems such as suicide, and drug and alcohol misuse. The DMH indicates that situations which impact mental health include social level indicators such as demographic structures including migrations and disabilities, economic situations, education, and communication. The DMH also uses as indicators of mental concerns the family level variables which describe family structures, stresses, or problems of children. At the individual level, the DMH considers the diagnosis, treatment and prevention efforts as well as collecting data on healthy leisure behaviors, and unhealthy behaviors such as drinking alcohol, smoking and sexual conduct leading to STD's. (See also concerns about mental health in Eastern Thailand)
We plan to expand surveillance indicators presented by the DMH in order to discover details of the local environment which define or determine mental health problems or adaptations.
The ultimate goal is to monitor the social environmentsof the region and to plan and promote contribute to healthy behaviors and lifestyles for the residents by using research and public education projects. (See also criteria for investment in health).
We are looking for data on population characteristics that might relate to mental health status or outcomes. Since mental health has different meanings to different people, we will need to collect information from a variety of experts. The people most likely to have investigated population characteristics related to mental health include university researchers. Persons with expertise, such as university researchers or service program officers may have information that is specific and meaningful to mental health. In addition, such persons will have a wide variety of contacts with the populations and groups they study or work with. Such experience defines their areas of expertise and in turn shapes the issues that are brought before the population in the form of research questions or health promotion objectives.
We will sample these experts using a snowball survey technique. This is a fairly straightforward activity, in which we survey the population of interest (i.e. mental health experts) beginning with some recognized professionals, and ask those persons whom we contact to name others in their field who we then contact. Each person subsequently contacted is also asked to name some likely subjects, thus resulting in a self-selected sample of persons with experience and knowledge of mental health issues. We will proceed as follows:.
OBJECTIVE: #1: Develop data base of research, interests, and projects related to mental health in the provinces of Eastern Thailand .
Contact persons and agencies with interest in the topics of health delivery, social well being, healthy lifestyle, and cultural practices related to health. (Link to staff, specific activities and timeline)
Objective #2 List community values and interests around mental well-being
Assessing community values requirees contact and cooperation with persons representing various segments of the community. In addition to knowing the research approaches to mental health, it is essential to determine the community definition of mental and emotional well being, and to know what are considered serious indicators of mental or emotional distress.
We will determine the issues of which the community is aware and concerned about is by interviewing selected representatives from various community groups. Data from in depth interviews or from focus group data can indicate the topics of concern and reflect the opinions of the various groups. Thus, in this stage of the research, we will contact representatives of the stakeholders representing both the population served and the providers of advice and service. A preliminary list of population representatives might include high risk groups such as students, factory workers, entertainment workers, vendors, immigrants, and hospital patients.
A preliminary list to get information from professionals about mental health problems and causes would include a geographically representative sample of researchers, psychiatric nurses, health center administrators, political delegates, and alternative caregivers, especially monks, schoolteachers and police.