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A critical review of mental health and mental health-related policies in China: More actions required

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Abstract

In China, there are over 170 million people suffering from mental illness. However, there is a lack of a critical review of the policies governing the provision of mental health services. Drawing on the framework of mental health policy developed by the WHO, this article critically examines mental health policies regarding legislation, financing, model of care and delivery, as well as manpower and the training of mental health professionals in China. This analysis raises a number of policy-related questions concerning the lack of community-based psychiatric services, inadequate coverage of mental health services in the rural areas, poor standard of education and an insufficient number of trained mental health professionals, and insufficient protection of the human rights of people with mental illness. The article ends by urging the various levels of governments to make a firm commitment to improve mental health care for people with mental illness in China.

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