Around 15 percent of the Vietnamese population, or 15 million people, are battling common forms of mental illness, health experts said at a meeting in Hanoi to observe the World Mental Health Day (October 10) on Monday.
Among non-communicable diseases, mental disorders are very common, on the rise, and are the cause of many other health problems, according to the experts.
In 2019, the World Health Organization estimated that one in eight people was living with a mental disorder, with the most common being anxiety disorders and depression.
Anyone can have a mental disorder at some point in their life, Deputy Minister of Health Tran Van Thuan said.
The health ministry reported that 14.9 percent of Vietnamese, or about 15 million people, suffer from one of 10 common mental disorders.
However, most people associate mental disorders with schizophrenia.
The actual rate of schizophrenia is 0.47 percent of the population while depression and anxiety rates account for up to 5-6 percent of the population.
The rest are other disorders such as bipolar affective disorder, and psychosis related to alcohol and drug use.
In children, mental health problems affect about 12 percent or more than three million children.
Deputy Minister Thuan highlighted the importance of strengthening community awareness of mental health, improving mental health, and early detection of mental disorders.
“Do not discriminate against people with mental health problems, for each of us may have certain mental disorders and only then can the treatment of people with mental illness achieve positive results,” said Thuan.
The discrimination makes people shy about admitting mental health problems, according to Luong Ngoc Khue, head of the health ministry’s Department of Medical Examination and Treatment.
Khue suggested better training health workers in psychology and establishing professional guidelines to enhance mental health care in health facilities and in the community.
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