Chinese University researchers on Wednesday urged people to seek help as soon as possible if their children are suffering from mental health problems, after finding that almost half of parents are unwilling to get assistance from professionals.
The university said it surveyed about 6,000 children in the past five years and found that about a quarter had at least one health issue, such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or anxiety.
It said about eight percent of secondary school pupils reported having suicidal thoughts.
Despite this, almost half of parents would not seek professional help for their children, the researchers said.
“Caregivers, mainly parents, are so distressed one way or the other, and they are helpless and they don't know what to do. And what they do will affect the outcome of their children and also affect their attitude to seek help,” said Professor Sandra Chan, who took part in the study.
“We think that specifically we have to educate families about mental health priorities, how they take care of themselves and how they can help their children find the resources they need.”
Meanwhile, the university also surveyed about 5,000 elderly people and found that one-fifth of them had a mild neurocognitive disorder, while about eight percent had depression or anxiety.
The researchers urged the government to strengthen chronic disease management for the elderly and encourage them to take part in a broad range of activities.