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Incidence of mental illness rising nationwide

By Wang Xiaodong | China Daily | Updated: 2017-11-29 07:18

Lack of care

Ma, who is also deputy director of the Mental Health Center at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said a lack of care at the community level is the biggest obstacle to the effective treatment and rehabilitation of patients.

"One of the most serious problems is the high incidence of recurrence of the illness. About one-third of patients have a recurrence about six months after being discharged from hospital, while about 40 percent have a recurrence a year after," she said.

She added that the main reason for the recurrence is that patients refuse or forget to take their medication after leaving the hospital.

"Treatment should not stop at the hospital. It should be extended to the communities in which patients live, otherwise they will continue to move between their communities and hospitals for repeated treatment," she said.

Zhang Chong, a psychotherapist at the Haidian Tiancunlu Health Center in Beijing's Tiancunlu subdistrict, said the number of people registered with a serious mental illness in the community of nearly 200,000 residents has risen constantly in the past few years.

"The number of registered patients exceeds 500, but the actual number may be far higher," he said.

"We try to contact the families of patients in the community who have been diagnosed with a serious mental illness and persuade them to register the person at the health center for follow-up treatment, but some refuse because of concerns about leaks and privacy. People with these illnesses are still stigmatized by society."

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