|Doctors give psychological counselling to a boy and his father at Hà Nội's Bạch Mai Hospital. — VNA/VNS Photo Dương Ngọc
HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam needs to advance the field of social work, specialising in providing psychological support for children and adolescents.
This involves strengthening psychological services, school counselling, connecting medical services, and improving coordination between agencies to implement mental health care for children and adolescents in the development of a dynamic and child-sensitive national strategy.
Speaking at the event marking World Children's Day 2023 on Tuesday, Nguyễn Thị Hà, Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, emphasised that World Children's Day is a time when the world focuses on children and engages in activities for their well-being.
“This is a day of action to mobilise policies and social efforts towards the goal of raising awareness of the most urgent issues that children are facing. What we are doing contributes to providing children with comprehensive development, a good start to ensure the realisation of children's rights, and opportunities for them to develop confidently and step into the future,” she said.
Sharing information about the situation of mental health of Vietnamese children after the COVID-19 pandemic, Hà stated that the project for the mental health care of children in the period 2023-45, especially for orphaned children, is being submitted for approval by the Prime Minister.
In response to World Children's Day 2023 with the theme of improving mental health for children, Hà said that ministries, departments, agencies, organisations and institutions need to show more concern and take more positive actions to enhance mental health for children.
This should focus on enhancing communication, education on issues related to the mental health of children; improving care services; supplementing regulations related to policies supporting mental health care, and social psychology for children.
According to the latest survey on adolescent mental health in Việt Nam, many children and adolescents are struggling with difficulties related to mental health. They lack coping skills, necessary support, and essential services related to social welfare.
About 20 per cent of adolescents have mental health issues, but only 8.4 per cent have accessed supportive or counselling services.
However, only 5.1 per cent of parents recognise their children need help regarding mental health issues.
|UNICEF Representative in Việt Nam Rana Flowers speaks at the event on World Children's Day 2023 held on Tuesday. — VNS Photo Khánh Linh
UNICEF Representative in Việt Nam Rana Flowers stressed that Việt Nam needs to enhance mental health care strategies to support children and adolescents.
“If we've got more than one fifth of adolescents experiencing mental health problems, with very few seeking support services, with the vast majority of parents not recognising that children need help, it's time for action. It is time for the strategy that's been developed. It's time for all the ministries that need to identify their steps to come together,” she said.
Rana Flowers stated that it is essential for all parents, teachers, social workers, and healthcare professionals to take action to eliminate stigma related to mental health, identify children who are at risk of severe mental health challenges, and understand the differences between boys and girls in experiencing and coping with mental health.
“The mental health care strategy should have separate chapters for children and adolescents because they are not the same as adults,” she added.
She encouraged the country to focus on early interventions, implement suitable strategies to build skills that enhance resilience and strengthen mental health for children.
At the event, experts analysed the mental health situation of children and adolescents, emphasising the creation of a safe network, prevention of child abuse, and elimination of risks from schools, social problems and family violence. — VNS