China launches mental health initiative for students

Source: Xinhua| 2019-12-27 17:37:53|Editor: Shi Yinglun
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BEIJING, Dec. 27 (Xinhua) -- China plans to enable all schools to offer psychological services for students by the end of 2022 as part of an action plan targeting the mental health of children and adolescents.

Each school should set up a psychological service platform or rely on school doctors to provide students with mental health services by the deadline, according to the plan jointly released by 12 central authorities including the National Health Commission and the Ministry of Education.

Institutions for preschool education and special education are required to be staffed with full-time or part-time mental health teachers.

According to the action plan, by the end of 2022, 60 percent of the country's psychiatric hospitals at Grade II and above should offer mental outpatient services for children and teenagers, while 30 percent of children's hospitals, maternal and child care service centers and general hospitals at the same levels are required to provide such services.

China has a three-tier system to grade hospitals. Many Grade II hospitals are county-level hospitals with 100 or more beds.

By 2020, all prefecture-level cities should provide residents access to psychological assistance hotlines, and the awareness rate of core mental health knowledge among the young should reach 80 percent, the plan read.

The incidences of mental and behavioral problems and the prevalence of mental disorders among young Chinese have been on the rise in recent years, which has become an increasingly prominent public health problem.

To address this challenge, the action plan aims to form a mental health service network that incorporates schools, communities, families, media and medical institutions, and foster a social environment conducive to protecting the mental health of young Chinese, said the NHC's disease prevention and control bureau in a statement.

The initiative also includes measures to implement preventive interventions for psychological and behavioral problems and mental disorders of teenagers and to strengthen psychological counseling for key groups.