Over the past several decades, as China has competed and worked diligently to become a major world economic power, its people have been fiercely driven to succeed and produce, efficiently and with excellence. While the same might be said of any developing country, China’s unique population boom coupled with specific social stigmas — such as having more than one child or seeking psychiatric help in times of difficulty — make for an interesting case study.
Before private psychiatric practices were legalized in the country, as late as 2002, China began experiencing a wave of suicides, especially among its young people. In fact, a suicide officially occurred once every two minutes in the country over a considerable span of time. With the recent economic crisis bearing down on China, this problem has picked up momentum, and late last year, suicide was reported as the leading cause of death in citizens aged fifteen to thirty-four.
Accompanying this surge in mental and emotional hardship is the beginning of wide-scale acceptance of psychiatry in China. Most universities have begun offering courses and degrees in the subject, and schools for children have mental health care professionals on staff. Most significantly, the stigma surrounding the seeking of such help outside the home or workplace is becoming better understood, hopefully leading to fewer cases of both suicide itself and the intense difficulties leading to such an end.
© Copyright 2009 by By John Smith, therapist in Bellingham, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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