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October 10, 2010

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Survey highlights mental problems

ABOUT a fifth of Shanghai residents have suffered some kind of mental illness at some point in their lives, according to the latest mental health survey.

And at the time the Shanghai Health Bureau survey of 20,062 adults was being carried out, some 12 percent were suffering from some sort of psychological disorder.

The city's first wide-scale mental health survey found that alcohol dependence and abuse was the major problem for men, while anxiety and depression were the most prevalent problems for women.

Health bureau officials said the survey was to gain a true picture of mental health in the city and collect information on the incidence of mental problems and the use of health resources to help map the city's 2011-2015 plan on mental health management which begins next year.

The bureau's Wang Panshi said the survey covered 27 main mental and behavioral problems.

The survey found 18.99 percent of the respondents had experienced at least one of the 27 disorders at some point. About 14.16 percent could be diagnosed as having had a mental illness while it was a serious one for 1.07 percent.

During the survey period, 12.19 percent of respondents were having problems, including 8.37 percent with a mental illness and 0.49 percent with a serious mental illness.

Wang said: "Though the lifetime prevalence rate of mental problems in the city is lower than most developed countries, we can see a rising incidence and should arouse more awareness on mental disorders like anxiety, depression, alcohol and drug abuse instead of only focusing on serious mental diseases."

The survey found that 9.88 percent of men had suffered alcohol-related mental problems and 5.89 percent were having the problem at the time of the survey.

"Alcohol dependence and abuse were rising quickly along with people's financial status and pressure," said Dr Zhang Mingyuan from the Shanghai Mental Health Center and one of the survey's leaders.

The survey found that very few people sought professional help and 60 percent didn't know where to get it.


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