Mental health issues are widespread and increasing in Vietnam, particularly among young people, experts said.
A man with mental illness is cared for at the Social Protection Centre in the Central Highland province of Lam Dong. About 30 percent of Vietnamese population or 28.2 million are suffering from mental health issues, with 25 percent experiencing depression. Source: VNA
Nguyen Van Ca, deputy head of 175 Military Hospital’s Psychiatry Department, said 29 percent of people with mental disorders were youths and 2.3 percent had tried to commit suicide or plan to do so.
Mental illness is a combination of many factors, not one specific cause, he said. Pressure at work or school, financial stress and tense community relationships are some typical causes.
According to director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Nguyen Doan Phuong, depression is a common issue.
About 30 percent of Vietnamese population (28.2 million) is suffering from mental health issues and 25 percent experience depression.
It can strike at any time, but is most common in people between the ages of 18 and 45. Women are more likely to suffer from the disease than men. There is a high rate among unemployed, separated or divorced people.
Public awareness of mental health and depression has improved as more people visit mental health service facilities for checkups.
Some 50 people go to the NIHM each day to treat their depression.
Signs of depression include a feeling of boredom, emptiness, difficulty concentrating, forgetfulness and fatigue. Some feel guilty, suffer insomnia or excessive sleep, or are irritable. Physical symptoms such as reduced appetite or overeating, headache, chest pain and digestive disorders are also possible.
In some cases, depressed individuals think about death or attempt suicide.
Duong Minh Tam, from NIMH’s stress-related disorder department, agreed.
Many patients have unsuccessfully sought care before visiting NIMH. Only after seeing a doctor at the institute were they diagnosed with serious depression.
Tam provided an example – a teacher from Nam Dinh province.
Unhappy in her marriage and suffering physical abuse by her husband, she lived in despair. Tam said the teacher experienced headaches and difficulty breathing without realising they were associated with a mental disorder.
The many pressures of modern life can fuel depression and similar issues.
“Many children suffer stress if they cannot meet the demands of their parents,” Tam told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.
According to Ca, most people with mental disorders recover well after receiving treatment.
Recognising psychological problems is the first step toward curing them. Pay attention to health problems and see a doctor as soon as experiencing symptoms that could indicate depression, Ca recommended. He added symptoms like insomnia and arrhythmia can last a long time if they are not treated.