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20% locals suffer mental disorder
Latest Updated by 2006-10-20 09:25:40
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One out of every five adult Shenzheners is suffering from some kind of mental disorder, nearly five times the rate of a decade ago, according to a survey conducted by Shenzhen Kangning Hospital.

The result, released late Wednesday as part of the city's mental health week that kicked off Oct. 10, suggests the city's overall prevalence of psychiatric diseases is similar to that in developed regions with a similarly fast-paced life, such as Hong Kong and Europe.

"Shenzheners suffered from great pressures and uncertainty from their work and daily life," said Hu Jize, director of the hospital, who said he believes there is a lack of social support for citizens facing mental illnesses.

Forty-eight investigators interviewed 7,143 adult residents between Sept. 8 and Dec. 31 in 2005, half of whom are permanent residents of the city.

"The average age in our random sample is 32.5 years old, while male and female interviewees are fifty-fifty," said Shao Chunxiao, a spokesman for the hospital.

"We found that 21.2 percent interviewees suffered psychiatric diseases, and 82 percent among them suffered the diseases for over 12 months," she said.

The survey also suggested that the prevalence of mental disorders is significantly higher than in other mainland cities, not only due to the faster pace of life, but also because a large chunk of the city's population consists of young migrants from across the country.

"The total number of mental disorder patients is 1.23 times that of Zhejiang Province," the report said. Zhejiang is one of the few regions to have conducted large-scale mental health survey.

However, psychiatry professor Lee Sing at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, one of the five consultants for the survey, said the result was "normal."

"We have similar prevalence in Hong Kong," he said.

With an expected 2 million patients in the city's 10-million-strong population, the municipal government is planning a 500-bed psychiatric hospital and a mental diseases prevention center. A draft on protecting mental patients' rights will be submitted to the Shenzhen Municipal People's Congress by the municipal health bureau before December.

The last large-scale mental health survey was conducted by the hospital in 1996.

Editor: Yan

By: Tan Xiaomi Source: Szdaily web edition
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