Opinion / Opinion Line

Mental health measures are a medical issue

(China Daily) Updated: 2016-07-18 09:39

IN SHUANGLIU DISTRICT OF CHENGDU, capital of Southwest China's Sichuan province, the local government recently introduced a list of 11 "symptoms" of mental health problems, and promised to give a reward to anyone who reported a person based on these symptoms once a mental health problem was confirmed. However, the symptoms given by the government are debatable, says Southern Metropolis Daily:

Considering the various incidents of mentally ill people threatening the safety of others, it is necessary to send those with violent tendencies to hospital for treatment. Screening is necessary and Shuangliu district has done a creative move by offering rewards.

However, many of the symptoms it listed are rather ambiguous. For example, "those staying at home all day" should be reported as possibly being mentally ill. First, it is one's legal right to stay at home; second, staying at home does not mean one is isolated. Those running an online business or doing programming work could well be at home all day working; should they be treated as mentally ill?

Other symptoms include talking to oneself and being cold to others, which might easily victimize many people who are mentally healthy but prefer to be a little distant toward the outside world. Some experts have already published their comments online, criticizing the list of symptoms for being too vague.

Mental illness is a health issue, so medical experts must be involved in any policies concerning people with mental health problems. The local authorities of Shuangliu district might have been well-meaning with their creative approach, but they need to be more careful or else will only cause more problems than they solve.

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