Home / China / Society

Incidence of mental illness rising nationwide

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

Follow-up treatment

Under Beijing's unified system for the management of serious mental health issues, each patient's personal details are uploaded to an online platform by the doctors at certified hospitals who made the original diagnosis.

The platform, which is not open to the public, can only be accessed by community health centers, so doctors in the patients' communities can contact them to provide follow-up treatment and management, Zhang said.

He emphasizes the role of psychotherapy, and organizes group activities such as handcrafts or storytelling sessions to help the patients recover and reintegrate with society.

Huang Xia, a volunteer who visits the health center every Thursday to guide a range of activities, such as painting, designing clothes and making bags, said most of the patients are happy to participate.

"They are able to do most things themselves, and they are also inventive, which was not what I expected," she said.

According to Zhang, the biggest challenge for the health center is a lack of staff members. "We need at least seven or eight psychiatrists and psychotherapists to cope with so many patients, but at the moment we only have one nurse, one psychiatrist and me," he said, adding that medical professionals who work at community hospitals or health centers earn much less than their peers in large hospitals, which makes it difficult to attract the best talent.

In addition, many community health centers cannot provide enough opportunities for training.

As a result, members of staff sometimes have to spend large amounts of their own money on training programs to learn about the latest techniques.

Editor's picks