Alliance targets mental health of children

BEIJING: The Yangtze River Delta Region Children and Adolescents’ Mental Health Enhancement Alliance was recently established in Shanghai, aiming to help youths manage their emotions and stress levels when dealing with others.
Experts from the alliance, based at Xinhua Hospital in Shanghai, said there has been a rising need for children to obtain psychological support over the past few years and that the COVID-19 pandemic is one of the main reasons behind an increase in mental health problems.
Sixty-three hospitals and some teachers in charge of students’ mental health from educational institutions in Shanghai and the provinces of Zhejiang, Jiangsu and Anhui became inaugural members of the alliance. They hope to provide early detection and intervention for children who have psychological difficulties and improve the overall mental health of those under 18.
Zhang Jinsong, director of the clinical psychology department at Xinhua Hospital Affiliated to Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, said there are currently fewer than 20 psychiatrists specializing in children’s mental problems in Shanghai. She said most hospitals treat adult cases but lack experience in dealing with juveniles.
Within the alliance, experts from the children’s psychology department at Xinhua Hospital and the children and adolescents department at the Shanghai Mental Health Center have teamed up to design mental health intervention plans for children in kindergartens, primary schools and middle schools in line with their ages. “The participants will learn how to help children recognize and understand their own emotions and deal with various situations, such as conflicts between peers, academic pressure, conflicts with parents and public emergencies, in appropriate and positive ways,” Zhang said.
– The Daily Mail-China Daily News exchange item