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Last Updated: Monday, 11 October, 2004, 06:38 GMT 07:38 UK
Mental health fears in China
By Louisa Lim
BBC, Beijing

A new survey indicates that more than 30m Chinese children are suffering from mental health or behavioural problems.

The figures also show that the number of children with such difficulties has risen sharply over the last 10 years.

The Beijing University survey found up to 22% of children suffered emotional problems like depression and showed problematic behaviour like lying.

These children, sometimes known as "little emperors", were born under the one child policy so have no siblings.

Psychologists say they are often spoilt and sheltered from problems by their parents, so are unable to cope with difficulties.

Parents also place huge amounts of pressure on their precious only child to succeed.

One survey of primary school students in Shanghai found almost a quarter had thought about taking their own lives.

Health ministry officials say they are deeply concerned with the problem, and are stepping up mental health education for teachers and doctors.

But there is a serious lack of mental health care professionals in China, with only 14,000 qualified psychiatrists in the whole country.


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