Out of mind, in plain sight
Mentally ill homeless people can be found throughout Bangkok, wandering city streets and most vulnerable to the dangers of living rough. Experts say that the agencies and facilities meant to protect them are grossly inadequate and that for most the prospects of rehabilitation remain dim
Son was a familiar figure wandering aimlessly and obviously "out of it" in Rangsit district, where he lived in a local temple. Rescue workers came to the temple in response to a call from a concerned citizen and took him for treatment at a government mental hospital, and slowly he regained his wits and memory. Son couldn't remember anything about his family but fortunately they did not forget him. Now he is safe, recuperating at his home in Chaiyaphum province. Son is one of a lucky few suffering from severe mental illness on the streets who receive attention and help. Most suffer in silence and loneliness.
Mentally ill homeless people can be spotted all over Bangkok and other large cities, sleeping at bus stops, on the pavement and under bridges, existing off what they can forage. Some look furious, while others smile or talk to themselves. They are almost invariably dirty and avoided like the plague by most people.
STREET FURNITURE: The homeless, mentally ill or not, have become part of the urban landscape. PHOTO: THANARAK KHOONTON
This article is older than 60 days, which we reserve for our premium members only.You can subscribe to our premium member subscription, here.