The guest speaker at the Pattaya City Expats Club (PCEC) on Wednesday, November 22, was Nnamdi (Nam) Samuels, a psychotherapist, whose topic “Managing Our Mental Health.” His talk was centered on Expats and their mental health issues.
Nam was born and raised in the UK and considers himself to be a true cockney. He is also an ex “squaddie,” having served in the British Armed Forces, and was also a former firefighter-officer in the London Fire Service. He has been a regular visitor to Thailand for over 34 years. Nam noted that he is both a psychologist and psychotherapist with over 23 years of experience. Much of his work as a therapist has been supporting people with mental health issues. In doing so, he does not try to “label” people.
The past few years he has helped several expats with depression, anxiety, and other issues which found alcohol was not the answer. Lots of his work has been online, which does have the drawback that you can’t see the person’s body language.
He began by asking his audience what they thought was meant by “Mental Health.” There were many suggestions, with Nam expressing his view that Mental Health is about having a normal life without strings or depression. He then mentioned that there are Mental Health issues in Thailand both with Thais and Expats. Nam mentioned that Thailand has highest suicide rate in Asia outside of Japan. This includes both Thais and Expats.
Much of his presentation involved interaction with his audience. This was done by Nam asking for their input on different aspects of how such things as the Pandemic affected them and their mental health during this period, e.g. loneliness, restricted activity, anxiety, loss of loved ones, etc. Another area of interaction was when he asked his audience to share what impact that cultural differences has had on their relationships with Thais. Nam said that how these cultural differences affect your mental health depends on you. In his opinion, acceptance of the differences has a lot to do with maintaining good mental health.
Further, there are only a few doctors in Thailand that treat mental health issues, and such treatment is generally expensive. Thus, making it difficult for those in need to get help. Probably one of the best therapies, if you know someone who is having mental health issues, is to take the time to listen to them and lending a sympathetic ear as they talk about their troubles, anxieties, and problems.
After the presentation, MC Ren Lexander brought everyone up to date on upcoming events and called on George Wilson to conduct the Open Forum portion of the meeting where the audience can ask questions or make comments about Expat living in Thailand, especially Pattaya. To learn more about the PCEC, visit their website at https:/pcec.club. View Nam’s presentation by visiting the PCEC’s YouTube Channel at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ffqX_btSzk.