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Mental Diseases, China's New Medical Burden
   2016-05-29 15:04:48    CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: Guan Chao

An illustration shows some mental patients may manifest violent characteristic. [Illustration: Xinhua]

In a remote county in northwest China's Shaanxi province, there are more than 400 mental patients, 85 of which show violent or aggressive behaviors.

But, in such a poor area, these violent patients sooner or later will be doomed to one ending:

The patients' families will chain or confine them until there is no money left to feed an extra mouth. Then the patients will be abandoned to a random place far away, where they will either end up dead on the street or seized for hurting people.

Wang Zhenyi, who has worked as a local doctor there for 15 years, said many mental cases were genetically inherited but poverty is also considered a primary reason for the high incidence of mental disease.

Wang notes the mental patients he met are mostly from the poorest groups.

"Without completing education, without enough survival skills, many young people are driven mad by pressure while trying to make a living in large cities," said Wang.

Meantime, since many mental illnesses are caused by factors carried in genes, genetic inheritance also remains a leading contributor to the high incidence of mental diseases.

Currently, the overriding problem is how to manage the mental patients, especially in poor rural areas.

Local governments have been faced with obstacles mainly caused by under-developed facilities.

But related laws, that are either unsound or not yet in place, may be a key reason behind the lack of actions from local authorities.

Recent research shows that about 173 million Chinese adults are suffering from mental illness. Yet over 91 percent of them have never received any clinical treatment.

World Health Organization predicts that mental illness will account for one quarter of China's medical burden by 2020.

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