Project addresses adolescent mental health issues
时间:2022-01-14 08:42来源:未知 作者:-1 点击:158

  BEIJING-Hundreds of thousands of adolescents in China have benefited from a mental health service project co-initiated by the United Nations Childrens Fund and the National Health Commission of China.

  The five-year Adolescent Health and Development Project has been carried out since 2016 in 14 districts and counties of 11 provincial regions in China, such as Beijing, Henan, Hunan, Jiangsu and Chongqing.

  The project focuses on preventive intervention to build awareness, knowledge and skills among adolescents for better mental health and to provide information on how they can access mental health services, which are expected to reach over half a million adolescents from more than 430 schools around China.

  Under this project, a service package has been delivered to trained counselors and teachers, to better guide them on how to tackle adolescent mental health issues.

  More than 13 percent of adolescents aged 10 to 19 around the world are afflicted with a mental disorder as defined by the World Health Organization, according to The State of the Worlds Children 2021released by UNICEF.

  Compared to adults, adolescents tend not to seek help for mental health problems due to fears about confidentiality and public stigma, as well as a lack of relevant knowledge about mental health services, according to UNICEF.

  Mental health issues not only refer to severe diseases like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, but can also be embodied by the common problems in daily life, which must be taken seriously, says Zheng Yi, a chief physician with the Beijing Anding Hospital of Capital Medical University.

  The service package involves positive psychology in devising multiple measures, including group sessions, mindfulness-based stress reduction and attention exercises, screening and referral for mental health disorders in health facilities, as well as social media and hotline communication.

  Adolescent health camp activities, meant for emotion management, stress relief and anxiety elimination, have been held during public holidays and weekends in pilot schools, and have been attended by more than 1,000 adolescents.

  The five-year project is just the first step to address peoples awareness and reduce related social stigma, according to Cynthia McCaffrey, UNICEF representative to China.

  Stigma is preventing children and young people from seeking treatment and limiting their opportunities to grow, learn and thrive, she says. Parents, other caregivers, teachers and public figures need to create an environment where young people feel that its safe to talk about their mental health.

  The incidence rate of self-harm and severe injury has witnessed a marked drop, says Mo Min, a doctor with Maternal and Child Care Service Center in Beibei district, one of the pilot districts in Southwest Chinas Chongqing.

  I have acquired the techniques of how to deal with adolescent mental health issues via the project. Also, we realized that we should not only attend to sexual and reproductive health but also take initiatives to offer help to adolescents in school, Mo notes.

  We absorbed the advanced experience of the project into our own service model. As well as the current two pilots in this project, we will spread the service model to more counties and districts, says Zhang Haiyan, an associate chief physician from the Maternal and Child Care Service Center in Chongqing.

  We have delivered more than 100 lectures across the city and carried out more than 200 mobile clinic services in schools, says Zhang. In the future, we will develop a more suitable service model for key groups, such as left-behind children whose parents work in big cities.



Project addresses adolescent mental health issues

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