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Beijing provides students with mental counselling
(China Daily)
Updated: 2005-02-01 08:48

Tang Lili, a Beijing-based college student in her early 20s, lives with a sense of anxiety while on campus.

But it could be worse. A top high school student from a small city in East China's Anhui Province, Tang is struggling to face up to the reality of increased competition.

"I find it difficult to live up to my parents' high expectations and I am quite worried about my future when it comes to finding work," said the third-year student.

Tang has, however, benefited and gained confidence from talking to staff at a psychological counselling centre on campus.

Tang used the time to discuss the challenges she was facing and how she should respond to them, in addition to looking at her study methods.

Tang is luckier than others, who have taken their own life because of the pressures of university life.

To ensure the psychological umbrella covers as many undergraduates as possible, the city's education authorities have introduced more psychology-based programmes.

The Beijing Education Commission launched a guideline on college students psychological education earlier this month.

It highlights the prevention of psychological illnesses and the long-term character building of students.

The guideline calls for every college and university in the city to establish psychological counselling centres for students as soon as possible and introduce psychological education schemes.

"With the rapid changes in Chinese society, young people are under greater pressure than ever before," said Lin Guirui, director of the psychological counselling centre at Beijing's Capital Normal University.

Lin, who assisted in drafting the guideline, said many college students had heavy workloads, faced fierce competition when it came to finding jobs and had complicated interpersonal relationships.

"Frustration guidance, directed at helping them shape their character and strengthening their willpower, is badly needed, especially for those who are single children," Lin said.

"Young people must understand that frustration is inevitable in their lives and that they can only become more mature by learning to overcome such emotional difficulties."

Lin's university was among the city's first batch to introduce psychological education schemes.

The university introduced lectures and discussions on mental health in 1994, providing general psychological education and free counselling to all.

Mental health awareness has greatly improved as a result, as an increasing number of students have been able to benefit from the counselling centre's services.

The centre only had one tutor and very few people came for help in the early 1990s.

However, it now has three tutors and students often have to queue up to get counselling.

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