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An exploration of young people's experiences of living with mental illness in Phuket

The primary objective of this study was to explore some of the experiences of young people living in Phuket with a mental illness. Much academic material regarding mental illness is from a Western medical perspective, leaving out consideration for Eastern cultures and context. In Phuket, life is an amalgamation of both Western and Eastern cultures, and it is not possible to research one perspective without also seeing the impact of the other. To understand how ex-pats and Thai nationals experience living with mental illness in Phuket, it is important to give people an opportunity to speak about this cultural context. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with four young adults living in Phuket with a mental illness. Thematic analysis identified common themes including where mental illness comes from, family background, interpersonal relationships, living with a mental illness, lifestyle. Participants understood their illness as arising in part from their family background, genetic components and environmental factors. Family support as well as other interpersonal relationships were important support factors for living with mental illness. Participants expressed feeling stigma from others regarding their mental illness, which led to difficulties in school, employment, housing, and interpersonal relationships. The study found that the participants had high self-awareness regarding their mental illness, their perceptions of themselves and how others view them. It is concluded that Phuket offers the participants a positive cultural context for healing based on Thai cultural values.
Type of thesis
Nelson, M. (2019). An exploration of young people’s experiences of living with mental illness in Phuket (Thesis, Master of Applied Psychology (MAppPsy)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/12386
The University of Waikato
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