China / Society

Hunan health officials dispute mental health figure

By Zhao Xinying ( Updated: 2014-04-22 18:43

Health officials in Hunan province have denied a report that 12 million people in the province have mental health problems, Xinhua News Agency reported on Monday.

Chen Yan, director of the disease prevention and control department under the health department of Hunan province, said the "12 million" figure was a deduction based on statistics, rather than reality.

Chen made the remarks after an online article said there are 12 million people with mental health problems in the province. The article sparked controversy among netizens, with people saying the figure is shocking as Hunan has a population of 70 million people, which would mean one in every seven have mental health problems if the figure is true.

"The figure '12 million', given by the mental health center of Hunan province, came from a survey on people's mental health carried out from 2001 to 2005 in four provinces of China," Chen was quoted as saying.

The four provinces were Shandong, Zhejiang, Gansu and Qinghai, and did not include Hunan.

"Findings of the survey showed that 17.5 percent of people had mental health problems, and some people may have applied that percentage to Hunan's population and got the result of 12 million people with mental problems," Chen told Xinhua.

Health authorities in Hunan province said there were 120,000 people with severe mental health issues in the province by the end of 2013, while the total number of people with other mental health problems was unclear.

The authorities said they would carry out a survey across the province this year to find the real situation.

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