“Generally Good” Mental Health reported for 2022

Now Shenzhen   |   February 27, 2023

Chinese people’s mental health was “generally good” last year, with about one in 10 adults at risk of depression, according to a report released on Thursday.

The rate of adults prone to depression stood at 10.6 percent in 2022, slightly down from the level recorded in 2020, according to a report led by researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Psychology.

“The rate of depression risk refers to the proportion of people who had reported depressive symptoms,” said Chen Zhiyan, a professor at the institute and an editor of the report. “Such a condition will likely be caused by depression or other mental illnesses, or it might be a brief emotional swing.”

The report was based on a nationwide survey involving about 200,000 people and was released during a news conference in Beijing.

Chen said that the mild decrease is partly attributed to increasing accessibility and convenience of mental health services in recent years.

“In addition, because the average age of survey participants was a bit younger than that of the previous report, and mental health usually improves with increasing age, the rate was lower,” she said.

Furthermore, the report said that people who have a steady job and a stable romantic relationship, exercise regularly and take a nap at noon tend to be at less risk of experiencing depression.

The report concluded that mental health problems remain prevalent among adults in China, with depression being the most prominent. It suggested further expanding the provision of high-quality psychological consultation services, promoting regular mental health examinations, and paying special attention to the unemployed and young adults.

The report reaffirmed a widely recognized trend that mental health issues are more widespread among teenagers and young adults.

The risk of depression among 18 to 24 year olds was the highest among all age groups, at 24.1 percent, it said.

A separate report focusing on teenagers was also released on Thursday and showed that 14.8 percent of people aged 10 to 16 were at risk of depression, including four percent whose risk level was deemed high.

In addition, about two in five teenagers sometimes or frequently felt lonely, neglected or had difficulty mixing with peers, and about 33 percent said they could not stand being separated from their mobile phones, suggesting potential addiction to electronic devices.

Guo Fei, a researcher at the institute who was involved in writing the report, said comprehensive efforts are needed to enhance the mental health of teenagers, such as conducting annual evaluations of the mental status of students and ensuring that they get enough sleep and outdoor activities.

“While some local governments have begun to regularly assess the psychological condition of students, it is important to expand such practices to more areas and devise assessment questionnaires that are tailored to the culture and customs of Chinese people,” she said.