Students attend a class at a primary school in Changxing County, east China’s Zhejiang Province, Sept. 1, 2023. (Photo by Tan Yunfeng/Xinhua)
BEIJING, Oct. 10 (Xinhua) — China in recent years has seen concerted efforts from government departments and social sectors in promoting mental health among children and adolescents, the country’s top health authority has said.
Tuesday marks the 32nd World Mental Health Day, which is celebrated in China with the theme of promoting child and adolescent mental health.
“The key to work related to adolescent mental health is putting prevention first and conducting society-wide prevention and control,” said Li Dachuan, an official with the National Health Commission (NHC), at a press conference held on Monday with focus on this theme.
Li underlined the importance of including such work in the social service, public health service and social security systems.
According to a mental health survey involving more than 30,000 adolescents conducted by the Institute of Psychology under the Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2022, 14.8 percent of the respondents showed risks of depression to various degrees. Effective and timely interventions and adjustments were needed.
“Children and adolescents are in a period of rapid development in terms of mental health. Their psychology is prone to impacts brought by biological, psychological, social and environmental factors, among others,” said Zheng Yi, chief expert on child psychiatry at Beijing Anding Hospital affiliated to the Capital Medical University.
Ye Haisen, a clinical psychologist at a hospital in central China’s Hunan Province, said mental health conditions have shown a growing trend among youngsters in recent years. Mental disorders such as anxiety and depression have become prominent among children and adolescents.
In order to address the issue, authorities have put in place a raft of measures. These include a set of guidelines on boosting mental health services.
The NHC and 16 other departments, including the Ministry of Education, in April this year issued a three-year action plan for improving work related to students’ mental health.
It defines the responsibilities of government at various levels in promoting child and adolescent mental health, and underlines inter-agency coordination and joint efforts among medical institutions, schools and families.
The central government has earmarked a special fund to bolster the prevention and treatment of common mental disorders and support pilot programs related to mental health.
Under the auspices of the NHC, trials have been run across the country to advance public psychological services, Li told the press conference.
Currently, 96 percent of villages and communities, 95 percent of primary and middle schools, and all colleges and universities in these pilot areas have access to public psychological services, Li said.
Efforts have continued nationwide to enhance resource allocation, financial input and personnel cultivation in a bid to provide stronger guarantees for promoting child and adolescent mental health. ■