Adviser stresses children's mental health

Ke Jiayun
Two Sessions discussion told the healthy growth of children not only required teachers but also the participation of childcare workers, health-care providers and nutritionists.
Ke Jiayun

Teachers and parents should pay more attention to children's mental health, Fang Yue, head of the China Welfare Institute Nursery, said during a Two Sessions meeting on Monday.

At a Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) Shanghai Committee discussion on civil affairs, Fang, a local political adviser, said: "In September last year, Shanghai released a three-year plan for nursery services and the city will continue to build affordable nurseries in the following three years to meet people's demands.”

She said the city had made great efforts to build a high-quality preschool education system during the 13th Five Year-Plan (2016-20). 

The healthy growth of children not only required teachers but also needed the participation of childcare workers, health-care providers and nutritionists, she said, and these groups of people should receive professional training and be included in the teaching staff.

Fang said mental health was an issue that teachers and parents sometimes neglected. They should be aware of children's psychological problems and intervene at an early stage.

She said: “Respect, acceptance and love are the cornerstones of a child's growth. Only with respect for others and acceptance of those who are different from them, can children grow into people having independent personalities and a love of life."

Vice Mayor Chen Qun told the meeting that the city had several plans to address these issues in the 14th Five Year-Plan (2021-25). It was hoped that newly established kindergartens would have nursery classes. This year it planned to build 50 affordable nurseries and such nurseries would expand to the city's outskirts.

Enterprises and social organizations would be encouraged to open nursery classes to meet the shortage.

Several political advisers called for more concern to be paid to young people's mental health. Chen said the city planned to add more professional mental health counselors in schools and encourage community mental health centers to have closer connections with schools. 

More emphasis would be placed on sports at school. 

"We hope students in basic education, especially pupils at primary schools, can have one physical education class a day to encourage them do more outdoor exercises, which can help improve their mental health and relieve anxiety,” Chen said.

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