Depression and Anxiety on the rise in China, Study Shows

Depression and Anxiety on the rise in China, Study Shows

The results from the first ever national study of Chinese mental health – and suggest that disorders such as depression and anxiety are growing.

“The results of our survey suggest that most of the mental disorders are more common throughout China in the last 30 years,” the authors – led by Huang Yueqin, director of the Division of Social Psychology and Medicine Behavior at the Institute of Health. Peking University Mental – wrote in the report. The study was funded by the Chinese National Health Commission and the Ministry of Science and Technology.

The Chinese Mental Health Survey, the first results published in the Lancet Psychiatry peer-reviewed journal, was published this week, the first national representative survey on mental disorders. From 2013 to 2015, 32,552 people in 31 regions at provincial level were interviewed and refined by researchers for mood disorders, anxiety disorders, alcohol and drug use disorders, schizophrenia, eating disorders, and dementia.

In China, there is still significant stigma on mental health issues, and there are many obstacles to treatment or support. According to the World Health Organization, the country has only 1.7 psychiatrists per 100,000 people, compared to 12 psychiatrists per 100,000 people in the United States. The first mental health law in China came into effect in 2013, with the aim of protecting the interests of people with mental health disorders and improving procedures, admissions and treatment. In the years since, the Cabinet of the State Council – China confirmed its intention to improve the system.

Based on the survey results, 16.6 per cent of Chinese adults at some point in their lives were considered by the researchers to have had a mental illness, a significantly higher rate than in previous surveys, which were limited in scope. Anxiety disorders were the most common. The rise also had depression, which affected 6.9 per cent of those surveyed during their lives and 3.6 per cent in the previous 12 months.

According to the report, the increase in the rate of mental disorders could be attributed to previous surveys using different diagnostic criteria and methodologies. It also suggests that patients are more willing to recognize symptoms; in the past, many people were more likely to hide their properties due to social stigma.

However, the report also notes that rapid social change is likely to lead to a significant increase in psychological pressure and stress. panic attacks than developed countries.

Among the 65-year-old population or older, the survey estimated that across China dementia rates were 5.6 percent, lower than the prevalence of 10 percent of Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia in the United States. As China's population ages, there will be serious pressure on mental health care for older people: A study in 2018 found that people over 65 years of age are more likely to take their own lives.

The survey also examined the prevalence of psychological disorders such as schizophrenia and such disorders were considered relatively rare at 0.7 per cent of the Chinese population. However, the report noted that the prevalence of schizophrenia or psychic disorder can be underestimated due to their different properties and social stigma.

Compared to large developed countries, the proportion of Chinese people suffering from mental illness at some level in their lives remains relatively low, but the large population means, however, that it affects a large number of people. researchers.

“The Chinese Government should pay more attention to mental health care,” the report says. Zhang Hongxia and Ji Jianlin from the department of psychological medicine at Fudan University agreed, writing “the public and government have more attention to mental health problems such as anxiety disorders” which were published alongside the report.

“Current information on the mental health status of almost a fifth of the world's population is crucial to understanding global mental health concerns,” the report says.

This is an original article written by Ma Danmeng and Ren Qiuyu from Caixin Global and republished with permission. The article can be found on the Caixin website here.

(Image headers: People walking down stairs in Nanjing, in Jiangsu Province, 9 July 2015. The Xin / VCG)

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