Wednesday, April 29, 2009

China adds more psychiatric treatment nationwide

From Xinhua:

BEIJING -- Beijing is expanding its mental health facilities in order to treat the growing number of people suffering psychiatric illnesses.

The Municipal Health Bureau issued a statement April 26, saying that more hospitals would be required to set up psychiatric departments.

The city has 6,900 psychiatric beds in 32 hospitals and clinics, but the number of people with serious mental illness is estimated at 150,000.

Six large comprehensive or special hospitals, in the first round of the campaign, will set up psychiatric departments under the guidance of three existing mental hospitals, the bureau decided at a meeting on April 17.

From this year, more large hospitals will be able to diagnose and treat depression and compulsive disorders, and counsel terminal cancer patients, said bureau spokesperson Deng Xiaohong.

According to the Mental Health Center under the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, China has more than 100 million people with mental illness, but less than 5 percent of them are aware of their conditions, and even fewer go to hospital for assessment.

Mental illness is top of China's burden of disease rating carried out by the World Health Organization, surpassing cardio-cerebral vascular diseases, respiratory diseases and malignant tumors.

Mental illness accounts for 20 percent of all ailments and injury-led disabilities in China. The figure is expected to reach 25 percent by 2020.

Experts say that with the promotion of treatment, more people will admit, discover and have their mental illness treated promptly.