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Students' mental health safeguarded

By Zou Shuo | China Daily | Updated: 2021-10-25 09:31

Sun Fang, a psychology teacher and counselor at a high school in Hubei province, gives a lecture. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Last year, the National Health Commission ordered all high schools and colleges to incorporate assessments for depression into students' regular physical exams.

Moreover, the notice stipulated that schools should keep mental health records for all students and also pay special attention to those who might require help.

In addition, the Ministry of Education now requires universities to offer a compulsory course on psychological health to all students, who will earn two credits for completing 32 to 36 hours in class.

A notice issued by the ministry in July said every higher education institution should employ at least two qualified full-time psychology teachers, while primary and secondary schools should employ one related staff member.

Psychological evaluation should be offered annually to primary school students in higher grades, plus middle and high school students and freshmen in universities, the ministry added.

Sun said her school started offering psychology lessons to first grade students in 2013.

The courses, which take place every two weeks, offer basic knowledge about psychological health, life education, self-awareness and self-control, interpersonal relationships and family relations.

"The students are really interested in the courses, and they are more willing to book counseling sessions at the school's psychological center because they realize that mental issues are normal and nothing to be ashamed of," Sun said.

Fang Wen, a psychology teacher in Menghai county, Yunnan province, said her high school offers mental health courses to first grade students. It also has a psychological counseling center and an interest club related to the topic of mental health, she said.

She has witnessed a major shift in the students' perception of mental health counseling, because those who were afraid to seek help due to the stigma attached to such illnesses are now more willing to open up about their mental problems, Fang said.

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