Beijing’s education authority has instructed the city’s primary and junior middle schools to include mental health education in their curricula and ensure each school has at least one dedicated counselor to address the students’ psychological needs.
On the eve of World Mental Health Day on Sunday, the Beijing Municipal Commission of Education said teachers should provide support to students struggling with academic difficulties, those from single-parent households, and children of migrant workers to avert any possible mental health crises. Teachers are also required to closely monitor students with disabilities and severe health issues to ensure their physical and mental wellbeing.
In China, an estimated 24.6% of the country’s teenagers live with some form of depression, according to the latest report on mental health published by the Institute of Psychology under the Chinese Academy of Sciences. As many as 7.41 million children aged between 4 and 16 are said to suffer from mental or behavioral conditions, according to media reports citing a survey, while a separate report published in 2019 estimated that nearly 100,000 minors died from suicide annually.
“Half of all mental health conditions start by 14 years of age, but most cases are undetected and untreated,” according to the World Health Organization, which also says suicide is the fourth leading cause of death among teens aged 15 and 19 worldwide.