Depression program founded –

Depression program founded|Cover Story|

Depression program founded

Updated: 2012-09-12 07:51

By Shan Juan (China Daily)

An onsite training program for physicians has been launched in major Chinese cities jointly by the Lundbeck Institute and the World Psychiatric Association to improve clinical knowledge of depression.

The Ministry of Health estimates that 5 to 10 percent of the population suffers from depression. However, only 5 percent of sufferers have access to proper, timely treatment.

“Apart from people’s reluctance to seek professional therapy, a lack of knowledge about mental illnesses among physicians, particularly at grassroots level health institutions, is a factor,” said Yu Xin, who heads the Institute of Mental Health at Peking University.

According to Yu, some sufferers develop symptoms such as difficulty in sleeping and physical pain, which often obscure the problem and can lead to the patient being examined by doctors in unrelated departments.

“A lack of awareness among these doctors might lead to an incorrect diagnosis and delay proper treatment,” he said, adding that compared with most developed countries, China has a higher rate of misdiagnosis.

Without timely intervention, about 15 percent of those with serious depression worldwide may even be driven to commit suicide, according to the World Psychiatric Association.

To help address the problem, the joint program will train medical staff, including community clinic doctors and nurses in cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, and Guangzhou, in psychiatry with a strong focus on depression.

“That will benefit patients in terms of more timely and quality treatment,” Yu noted. Currently, China has only 20,000 suitably qualified doctors and few physicians in other areas of medicine received any training in psychiatry at medical school, experts said.

(China Daily 09/12/2012 page4)