Beijing schools to include compulsory mental health education

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The Beijing Education Authority has asked primary and secondary schools in the city to include mental health education in their curricula and to ensure that each school has at least one dedicated counselor to meet the psychological needs of children. students.

On the eve of World Mental Health Day on Sunday, the Beijing Municipal Education Commission said teachers should provide support to struggling students, those from single-parent families and children from school. migrant workers in order to avoid any possible mental health crisis. Teachers are also required to closely monitor students with disabilities and severe health problems to ensure their physical and mental well-being.

In China, about 24.6% of the country’s adolescents live with some form of depression, according to the latest mental health report released by the Institute of Psychology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. According to media citing a survey, up to 7.41 million children between the ages of 4 and 16 suffer from mental or behavioral disorders, while a separate report released in 2019 estimated that nearly 100,000 minors commit suicide each year. .

“Half of all mental health problems start at age 14, but most cases go unreported and untreated,” according to the World Health Organization, which also claims suicide is the fourth leading cause of death in 15 and 19 year olds around the world.

The decision to introduce mental health education in all public and private schools in Beijing came three months after the Chinese Ministry of Education ordered all academic institutions to “strengthen the work of health management. mental health of students ”. The new guideline also states that students will undergo mental health assessments in grades 4 through 12, which will be stored in a database shared between schools.

Last year, the country’s top health authority also introduced “depression assessments” as part of mandatory health exams for high school and college students. However, some have argued that such selections can target students, raising privacy concerns and possible discrimination.

A mother, surnamed Wang, from Beijing’s Haidian District told Sixth Tone that her daughter’s elementary school has already included mental health education in its curriculum. However, she added that she was not sure which aspects of mental health were included in the course.

“My daughter has a mental health class every Thursday,” she said. “But she tells me that the professor only spoke about the five sense organs and human anatomy. So, I am a little puzzled.

Publisher: Bibek Bhandari.

(Header image: A counselor talks to a student in Baokang County, Hubei Province, September 26, 2021. People Visual))

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