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Learning English - Words in the News
11 October, 2004 - Published 17:06 GMT
Mental health fears in China
Flag of China

A new survey indicates that more than thirty-million Chinese children are suffering from mental health or behavioural problems. The figures show that the number of children with such difficulties has increased sharply over the last ten years. This report from Louisa Lim:

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China's children are, it seems, troubled, with a new survey indicating that more than thirty-million are suffering from mental health or behavioural problems. The survey, by Beijing University, found that up to twenty-two percent of Chinese children suffered from emotional problems like depression and showed problematic behaviour like lying, stealing and aggression. These children, sometimes known as 'the little emperors', are born under the one child policy so have no siblings. Psychologists say they are often spoilt and sheltered from problems by their parents so are unable to cope with difficulties.

It also means that parents place huge amounts of pressure on their precious only child to succeed. One survey of primary school students in Shanghai found almost a quarter had thought about taking their own lives. Health ministry officials say they are deeply concerned with the problem and are stepping up mental health education for teachers and doctors. But there's a serious lack of mental health care professionals in China, with only fourteen-thousand qualified psychiatrists in the whole country.

Listen to the words



behavioural problems
difficult behaviour

a feeling of sadness that makes you think there is no hope for the future

brothers or sisters

often a child, who behaves badly because they’ve always been given what they want

extremely important and valuable


lack of

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