One Hundred Million Chinese Struggle With Mental Illness

March 10, 2009 Updated: October 24, 2015

Over one hundred million Chinese, about 7 percent of the Chinese population are struggling with mental illnesses, according to a report published by the Chinese  Center for Disease Control and Prevention in early 2009, said Fan Li, Deputy Director of the General Hospital of Chinese People’s Liberation Army.

Fan Li told a Central News Agency reporter while attending the People's Congress and the Political Consultation Conference in Beijing that intense conflicts, strong competitive pressure, fast-paced work environments, major disasters, and the economic crisis in Chinese society has led to a huge increase in the number of mental patients.

Fan also pointed out that the younger Chinese generation—as young as 8 years old—has also shown signs of mental illness, and that the number of Chinese children afflicted with mental illness has exceeded the international standard of 15 to 20 percent.

In the past 20 years, the number of permanently mentally ill patients in China has increased to 1.35 percent, up from 1.27 percent of the total population and China has about 400 kinds of mental illness.

“According to a study conducted in Zhejiang Province, about 10 percent of the population suffers from mental illness or related disorders, about 300,000 suffer schizophrenia, and about 1,200,000 struggle with depression.”

However, China can not adequately handle mental patients’ treatment. As of 2005, there were only 572 mental health facilities, with 132,881 hospital beds in mental wards and 16,383 registered psychiatrists attempting to serve 1.3 billion people. This represents approximately one psychiatrist per 79,350 Chinese.

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