In the weeks before she took her own life, Thai waitress Nitiwadee Sae-Tia felt growing financial pressure after she lost her job, a member of the family said.
She was one of millions of Thais who lost their jobs after lockdown restrictions to combat the spread of the coronavirus forced malls and other public venues to close in March.
After the Asian financial crisis in Thailand, for example, the number of suicides between 1998 and 2000 increased to more than 8 per 100,000 people from below 7. That compares with 6.64 per 100,000 people last year. Similarly, they rose in Japan in the years following the Asian financial crash.
"Six months after the crisis, the Thai government will face a challenge as the number of suicides will spike," said Champathong, who wants authorities to prepare now.