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China on the Couch: Psychologists Struggle To Meet Demand (2)

Posted by Author on September 16, 2006

Radio Free Asia, 2006.09.14, Hong Kong- (cont’d)

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there is a greater incidence of mental health and psychological problems among developing countries than in the developed world. But there is a huge shortfall in the number of doctors and treatment options available in those countries.

According to WHO figures for 2005, the average number of psychiatrists available per 100,000 head of population in the developed world is 10.5, while psychologists number 14 per 100,000. But China can offer only 0.05 psychiatrists and 0.04 psychologists per 100,000 people.

China, with its population of 1.3 billion, is home to just 14,000 psychiatrists and psychologists, the same number as France, with its population of 60 million.

Thousands are in training

But the profession is growing as fast as it can. Wu Jinghua is a psychological expert at the Tianlang Psychological Clinic in the northeastern city of Shenyang.

When he started in the business a few years back, there were only two such clinics in Shenyang. But he has witnessed an explosion in his profession, with the Psychological Counseling Institute in Shenyang training around 1,400 new professionals annually.

Wu said that he currently sees three or four patients a day, and that many of them are very young.

“There are three types. The first is primary school students worried about their relationships with classmates or with their teacher, those trying to get used to the psychological environment of primary school,” he said. (to be cont’d…)

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Related:

Suicide Rampant Among China’s Rural Women, City High-FlyersRadio Free Asia

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