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Depression included in college students’ enrollment health examination

▲File Photo: Ecnsphotos

 

China’s National Health Commission has released a plan to explore special services for depression prevention and treatment. The proposal states that depression screening will be included in the health examination of newly enrolled high school students and college students. 

The plan aims to help improve public awareness of depression as the condition is becoming more normal among Chinese students. According to the World Health Organization, one in four college students in China have admitted that they have suffered symptoms of depression. 

On July 24, 2019, a survey about college students’ depression launched by China Youth Daily on China’s twitter-like social media platform Weibo showed that among more than 300,000 respondents, over 20 percent said they had serious depression.

Since October, a number of student suicides have sparked heated discussion on the internet. On October 6, a male student and a female student at Lanzhou Petrochemical Polytechnic, a vocational school in Gansu Province, committed suicide through burning charcoal in a hotel room during their internship. The boy, surnamed Chen, left notes with the words “very tired of life” and “cannot see any hope” in his wallet. 

According to several university websites, efforts have already been made to carry out mental health testing for newly enrolled students. 

On the official website for Student Counseling at the Mental Health Center of Peking University, the center says that psychological testing is carried out and “some students are screened for individual interviews.” On the website of the Student Counseling Center of Shandong University, sessions for freshman mental health were held on October 22. 

A graduate student surnamed Liu from Shandong University who suffers from depression told the Global Times that after the testing, she was invited to the school counseling center. A teacher talked with her for about half an hour and suggested that if she wanted more help, she could contact the counseling center at any time. 

“It seems that the teacher tried to comfort me and wanted to know more about me, but I did not want to open my world to that teacher,” Liu said. She was worried that the test result would be passed to her guidance counselor. She did not want teachers to know her mental health situation. “Maybe I would be asked to take a year off.” 

But the test failed to screen all students who have depression. A student surnamed Wang who also suffers from depression told the Global Times that she didn’t get any calls or help from teachers or the school counseling center. 

“Later I went to hospital for professional treatment. But I really hope that the school mental health center can offer more help to students who have depression.”

Global Times

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