Depression hits teenagers, therapy uncommon: Survey

By Wang Hongyi in Shanghai ( China Daily ) Updated: 2014-06-01 07:24:06

 Depression hits teenagers, therapy uncommon: Survey

Children whose parents left home for work in cities gather at an activity center built for them in Qiaoshan village in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region in May. Meng Zengshi / for China Daily

Many teenagers, who live apart from their parents in China, suffer from depression and other psychological problems, and aren't exposed to therapy, a recent study suggests.

The research was conducted by a global group of psychologists on more than 300 left-behind children across the country, between January and March this year. Questionnaires were given to the children and their families with the aim to grasp the magnitude of mental health issues and offer advice on social support mechanisms.

The report was released at the 21st IFP (International Federation for Psychotherapy) World Congress of Psychotherapy in Shanghai last month. The IFP is an organization of national, regional, and school-oriented psychotherapy societies, with a goal to facilitate and promote international communication among the various schools, professional groups and cultures within psychotherapy, it said.

With more than half of the sample surveyed tending to show behavioral and emotional disorders, the experts urge families to take greater care of these children and provide them with medical and professional counseling when necessary.

Depression and paranoia are among top problems prevalent in groups of boys between the ages of 12 and 16, the survey finds. The inability or unwillingness to take instructions from adults also surfaces as a major concern in such families.

"The best care for children is from their parents. However, there are too many children who are not cared for by their parents. This is not good for their growth, especially psychological growth," said Zhao Xudong, a professor of psychology at the Tongji University in Shanghai.

A large number of left-behind children continue to live in rural areas long after their parents have left them to pursue jobs in cities. Grandparents and other elderly people in families look after these children but often lack the energy or resources to emotionally engage with such children.

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