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Health plan for teens in pipeline
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08:38, March 27, 2009

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More and better mental healthcare will be given to children and adolescents here, a source from Shanghai Mental Health Center (SMHC) said yesterday.

Such a move is part of a plan to improve the city's mental health level in next seven years, following the national guidelines on developing the country's mental health, issued last year.

"Popularizing mental health-related knowledge and improving the mental health levels of children and adolescents are an important part of the whole plan," Xie Bin, vice-president of SMHC said. "The plan was submitted to the higher department and will be formally announced in two or three months."

As part of the plan, schools in the city will set up psychological counseling rooms manned by professionals. Up to 75 percent specialist teachers may be hired by 2015. About 95 percent students will receive psychological health education, Xie disclosed at the finale of a meet of the SMHC's Minhang District branch.

To help students fight mental diseases better, various mental health-related educational activities will be carried out. Teachers should focus on creating a "warm environment" in the classroom and adopt a scientific and healthy education concept.

More education and guidance centers for looking after college students' mental health will be set up by 2010.

The World Health Organization estimates that before 2020 the rate of children with mental problems will increase to 50 percent, and mental problem will become a major factor causing deaths and illnesses in the young worldwide.

In China more than 15 percent youth are found to have mental problems and about 30 million young people under 17 are suffering from depression, according to a previous report.

Another research conducted by Shanghai Academy of Educational Sciences last year on assessing elementary and high school students' capacity to cope with stress and catastrophe said that study-related pressures and interpersonal relationships were the main causes of stress.

Last year, four middle school students in Shanghai reportedly attempted suicide within a week after the new school semester started. Three survived eventually, and opened a discussion on the Internet.

Xiao Zeping, president of Shanghai Psychology Counseling Center, said, "Life education is necessary in helping students to better appreciate the value of life. Many cities are improving services that offer psychological help to students."

Source: China Daily

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