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Poll: Minors suffer from anxiety, depression
By Wang Zhenghua (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-05-25 22:27

A growing number of primary school students in Beijing are suffering anxiety and depression, according to a survey by the Beijing Municipal Committee of the Communist Youth League of China.

Meanwhile, a programme targeting children enduring such mental health issues and problems is under way.

According to officials, as many as 18 per cent primary school children from Beijing were suffering mental problems in 2002, 10 per cent higher than two decades ago.

Nationwide, some 16 per cent of elementary school students have tendencies towards mental illnesses, the Beijing Youth Daily reported.

What is more appalling, about 30 million Chinese teenagers under 17 suffer various degrees of psychological problems, the Chinese Ministry of Health said last month.

In the meantime, the programme aiming to help the capital's juveniles overcome mental problems has been under way for about one year.

Launched by the Beijing Municipal Committee of the Communist Youth League of China and three related departments, it involves lectures, parent and counselor training, mental health education evaluations and a handful of other activities.

According to the committee, 25 lectures on how to educate children were presented for some 8,500 parents over the past year, while 17 other lectures were given by college student volunteers that attracted 7,000 middle school attendees.

Zhang Hong, a committee official, told China Daily that the programme is making its way to education establishments for migrant workers' children.

At the moment, there are 240,000 children staying with their parents seeking employment in Beijing.

"Apart from granting financial support to these schools struggling in metropolis," said Zhang, "we should care more about their students' mental health, and that is what my committee is supposed to do."

With the International Children's Day just around the corner, Zhang's committee is trying to bring this group of children into the grand celebration.

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