Efforts called for on students' mental health

Systemic pressures around education leading to negative outcomes for nation's youth

By ZHAO YIMENG | China Daily | Updated: 2024-04-18 09:23
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A middle school student opens a letter from a volunteer in Xinyu, Jiangxi province, in April last year. More than 700 students from the city participated in the program, which invites adult volunteers to bond one-on-one with students via letters to help with their mental health. CHINA DAILY

A recent high-profile case concerning three middle school boys who allegedly killed a classmate has sparked discussions on the mental health of left-behind children in China.

A seventh-grade student surnamed Wang in Handan, Hebei province, was killed on March 10, and the suspects were taken into custody the next day, according to an official statement.

It is alleged that the suspects, who went to the same school and are all under 14 years old, had bullied the victim for a long time. Media reports said they are children of migrant workers.

Zong Chunshan, director of the Beijing Youth Legal and Psychological Counseling Service Center, said left-behind children lack proper family education during critical stages of their development, which may result in psychological issues and behavioral deviations.

They are prone to negative emotions such as anxiety and depression, Zong told China National Radio.

He said the academic performance of left-behind children does not reflect their psychological health, adding schools should provide emotional care and educational guidance to these children to establish effective communication channels.

On March 18, the National Advisory Committee for Students' Mental Health advocated the promotion of greater awareness concerning the physical and mental health of children and adolescents.

The foundation of students' mental health lies in the family, with a focus on the school and support from society, the committee said in a notice released by the Ministry of Education.

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