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.
Left: Praphai Yodpradit looks at pictures of her niece Nitiwadee Sae-Tia. Right: Yodpradit looks up where she found her niece Nitiwadee Sae-Tia's lifeless body after she took her own life.
That included the Japanese restaurant where Nitiwadee worked, said the aunt who found her lifeless body when she visited her home in May.
"When I opened the door, I was shocked," said Praphai Yodpradit. She said Nitiwadee, 50, had grown increasingly stressed and withdrawn after losing her job.
Left: Booprasert cries during an interview with Reuters at her home. Right: Booprasert shows a photograph of herself from the day that she tried to take her own life, on a news article on her phone.
The financial struggle of many Thais during the lockdown was also highlighted in widespread media coverage of 59-year-old Unyakarn Booprasert, who tried to take her own life in April outside Thailand's finance ministry building.
She has since recovered and told Reuters she had tried to kill herself "to speak for other people who suffered like me."
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.
PHOTO EDITING MARIKA KOCHIASHVILI; WRITING Ed Davies; EDITING Neil Fullick, LAYOUT JULIA DALRYMPLE