|Students attend a music lesson at the Nghia Tan secondary school in Cau Giay district of Ha Noi. More music lessons are encouraged to be added in the learning programmes of the students to reduce the rising prevalence of mental disorders among them, which were caused by the heavy academic workload and family and school-related conflicts. — VNA/VNS Photo Quy Trung
HA NOI (VNS) — With an increasing number of students suffering from mental disorders, educational psychology experts urged schools to effectively manage psychological consultative centres.
Ngu Duy Anh, director of the Student Affairs Department under the Ministry of Education and Training, said the rising prevalence of mental disorders among teenagers was caused by the heavy academic workload, family and school-related conflicts, career pressures and negative impacts from the internet.
"If teenagers don't receive a timely consultation, psychological pressures will lead to unfortunate consequences," he said. "Levels range from using foul language and fighting at school to playing truant, then suffering from mental disorders, suicide or breaking the law."
A new survey co-organised by the Health Ministry, Ministry of Planning and Investment's General Statistics Office of Vietnam, UNICEF and WHO interviewed 3,000 students aged 10-16 in Ha Noi and the northern city Hai Duong.
Nine per cent of interviewees said they used to think about committing suicide, six per cent had attempted suicide and 19.5 per cent said they suffered from mental disorders.
On October 6, a male student of the Chu Van An secondary school in the northern mountainous province of Lang Son killed himself by jumping off a bridge. His mathematics paper received 2 marks out of 10.
Assistant Professor Nguyen Duc Son, head of the Educational Psychology Faculty at Ha Noi Teachers' Training College, said expanding consultative centres at schools was essential, but few schools had such facilities.
"Lack of expenses, professionally-trained psychological teachers and support from students' parents are the causes," Son said. "Students don't know where to ask, so they must find answers by themselves."
Chairman of the Ha Noi Education Psychology Association Nguyen Tung Lam said psychological consultation for students had never before been such a hot issue.
Students were suffering more pressure from society, he said. He added that some schools in Ha Noi and HCM City had regular professionally-trained psychology teachers.
The psychological consultation workforce at many schools was comprised of civics teachers or youth union officials.
And in rural areas, there are no school psychological consultation centres.
"I don't confide in teachers because teachers will re-tell my story to my parents, and then I will have to receive disciplinary measures from them," Tran Duc Anh, a 9th-grade student in Ha Noi, said about why he and his classmates do not visit the psychological consultation centre at school.
Psychologist Nguyen Tung Lam said, "It is the best if psychological consultants at schools make close friends with the students before they become official advisers."
Deputy Minister of Education and Training Nguyen Thi Nghia said the ministry has asked provincial and city departments to establish psychological consultation centres based on each school's infrastructure and financial condition.
"Consultative teachers can handle several official subjects, but have to be trained with enough professional knowledge on student psychology," she said.
"Schools should co-ordinate with psychology associations to organise living skills, productive health and career guidance courses for students."
The ministry is going to promulgate a circular to authorise the opening of psychological consultation centres at school next year, according to the deputy minister. — VNS