Mental health matters
  ·  2023-10-30  ·   Source: NO.44 NOVEMBER 2, 2023

Mental health issues have attracted increasing attention from both the Chinese Government and all sectors of society. World Mental Health Day, which falls on October 10 every year, sees diverse activities hosted across China, aiming to raise awareness of how to manage these issues and encourage self-esteem, confidence and optimism.

As the pace of life accelerates and work pressure increases, many people say they're feeling "stressed out." In January, nearly 100 members of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference Shanghai Municipal Committee, the local political advisory body, jointly submitted a proposal on improving mental care services in Shanghai. Political advisors' proposals inform the government's decision-making. According to the figures they provided, one in five people in Shanghai suffer from insomnia, anxiety, depression, social phobia or other psychological disorders.

The report to the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in 2022, which outlines the Party's priorities for the next five years, pledged to emphasize mental and psychological health as part of the Healthy China initiative. The initiative serves as a guideline for the promotion of public health and the country's move toward higher wellness standards.

China has a fledgling mental healthcare system. For example, many hospitals have specialized psychiatric departments. Employers are called on to help employees cope with high work pressures through psychological assistance. 

For children and adolescents, schools are required to strengthen health education. There are special requirements on care for rural children whose parents work in cities far away from home, suicide prevention for college students, and psychological trauma intervention for children and adolescents who have been bullied. For seniors, then, the focus is on psychological counseling, stress reduction and family dispute mediation.

As China moves to a more advanced stage of economic and social development and as the number of people with mental conditions continues to rise, there will be a greater demand for mental health services. As a result, the existing capacity is far from sufficient, the number of professionals is small, and management lags behind. Therefore, the country must continue to explore new models of delivering mental healthcare and make it more accessible to all those in need.

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