onsdag 23. februar 2022

China’s Rural Mental Health Crisis

Five years ago, I carried out a survey of rural families in which at least one member had been diagnosed with a mental illness. My survey site was a remote mountain village located in the southwestern province of Yunnan. Although I’d braced myself for the worst before arriving, I was nonetheless distressed by the appalling living conditions of many patients.

Hundreds of miles from the nearest psychiatric hospital, villagers were wholly reliant on a single village doctor who had little mental health training. Although he made regular house calls, if patients’ conditions worsened, all he could do was advise their families to bring them to the distant psychiatric hospital for treatment and medication. Community treatment for mental health problems was unheard of.