Monday, July 26, 2010

Mental Illness

The title may be a little misleading, we are all okay! I want to talk about something I have been noticing a lot of lately; and that is just how many people here have some sort of mental problem. I am not talking, "break into the school with a knife crazy", but just enough to have a problem fitting into society, or causing disruptions in groups and things.
I had heard that China had this problem, but  I had not seen it before. But just the past 6 weeks, Renee and I have run into this quite a bit. We are staying busy, and have a lot of different activities, but our circle of influence is still small; but even within that we know of at least 6 people that need help. Again, they are not "crazy, crazy" but in the US they would be on medication or something.
Last night, Renee did some quick research on this issue, and what she discovered was amazing, and very sad. The research says that as many as 18% of all Chinese people have some sort of mental issue, thats over 240 million people! Think of that in terms of the US. If 240 million people in the US had some mental issue, think of how that would change our country. THe research goes on to say that there are only 4,000 qualified Psychiatrists in the whole country! Thats over 58,000 patients per Doctor! No wonder this is an issue!
We tried to figure out why we did not see this problem in Xi'an, where we lived and worked for three years. We think it was simply because in Xi'an, we spent our time with more professional people, teachers, and advanced students. And now, we are privileged to work with many different kids of people and classes. It is hard to see, but at the same time we are excited to see more doors open, and glad to hear that the Chinese government is finally starting to do something about this problem. I will keep you updated as we find out more.

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