Efforts called for on students' mental health

Systemic pressures around education leading to negative outcomes for nation's youth

By ZHAO YIMENG | China Daily | Updated: 2024-04-18 09:23
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Teachers guide students in using virtual reality headsets during a training session at a center dedicated to students' mental health in Jiaxing, Zhejiang province, in May. CHINA DAILY

It proposed fostering a warm and loving family atmosphere, making the home a safe harbor for children's healthy growth. Parents are encouraged to overcome excessive peer comparison and expectations, discard aggressive methods and reduce their control over their children.

It also suggested making the school a joyful playground for students' positive development and establishing a coordinated service network to ensure that all of society cares for and supports students' healthy growth.

The committee was established in November to boost the country's ability to tackle students' mental health through consultation and assistance in decision-making.

Resources from various fields, including education, health and nonprofit organizations, should be integrated to boost the development of adolescents' mental health, said Qiao Zhihong, secretary-general of the committee.

Led by the Ministry of Education, it is responsible for the research, consultation, monitoring, evaluation and scientific popularization of mental health work in universities, middle schools and primary schools.

The mental health issues of students, particularly among younger age groups, are growing prominently due to increasing pressures related to academic performance, employment and other factors, according to the 2023 Annual Blue Book on Mental Health in China.

A rural children's mental health survey conducted in 2021 by professor Chen Zhiyan and her team from the Chinese Academy of Sciences' Institute of Psychology, showed that the detection rate of depression among children was only 25.2 percent.

According to data from the National Depression Blue Book (2022-23), 30 percent of the 6,670 surveyed depression patients were under 18, with half of them being students.

Moreover, 41 percent of depressed students have had to take a break from schooling due to the chronic and debilitating nature of mental illnesses, the blue book said.

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