02 August 2007

Depression in China

Yesterday, while in the car, I heard just a few minutes of the The Beeb's program called World Update, and I caught a very interesting story on China and mental health. Unfortunately, the Beeb's website does not work the same way as NPR's and I can't find a link to that particular story.

They talked about China's growing problems with depression; an estimated quarter of a million people in China commit suicide each year, according to the report. And with few mental health professionals in China, many in rural areas are left to cope for themselves with the disease.

I cannot imagine having to struggle through this on my own, without the assistance of both my shrink and my family doctor, as well as a family who not only accepts mental health issues in a fairly matter-of-fact manner, but does not mind me sharing my story with the whole wide wired world.

They interviewed several Chinese who are struggling with depression, as well as a radio host who has a program in Beijing called "Talk about your problems," which is apparently a first of its kind in China. A part of me, while listening to these people talk about their life-and-death struggles was thinking, "What whiners. Get a grip, people." And I share their struggles. What must we all sound like to those who have never known the darkening of everything in your life, the inertia that paralyzes you, the feeling of being walled off from the rest of the world?

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