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Neighborhood mental health care boost

AT least 95 percent of Shanghai's neighborhood health centers will offer mental health services by 2015, according to a draft of the local mental health work plan released yesterday.

Also by 2015, each district and Chongming County will have at least one model recovery center for discharged mental-health patients and those who do not need hospital treatment. Community-based health professionals will also be trained to help prevent, treat and aid the recovery of mental health problems.

The draft was based on a national work plan for 2008 to 2015 but takes into account local requirements after consulting specialists in the city. The final plan will be announced in two to three months.

Under the draft, general physicians in neighborhood health centers will be trained to give psychological advice, identify people with mental health problems and transfer patients to hospitals that can deal with these problems.

Patients' families and policemen will also get training in patient recovery, protection and management.

Four Chinese cities ?? Shanghai, Beijing, Hangzhou and Shenzhen ?? are already participating in a pilot community mental health program.

The Shanghai pilot program is being carried out in Hongkou District and deals with crisis intervention for people with depression.

Xie Bin, vice president of the Shanghai Mental Health Center, said Shanghai has a high standard of mental health care but its ability to identify and prevent mental health issues is poor, while community-based management and recovery services for patients is weak.


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