Calls to mental health hotline surge amid pandemic resurgence

Cai Wenjun
Shanghai's 24-hour mental health hotline 962525 received a total of 50,000 calls in the past year, with the number surging two to three times during the recent COVID-19 resurgence.
Cai Wenjun

Shanghai's 24-hour hotline, 962525, which offers psychological consultation and mental crisis intervention, received a total of 50,000 calls during the past year.

The number of calls during the recent resurgence of the COVID-19 pandemic surged by two to three times, with a daily record surpassing 500 calls.

The mental health hotline has become one of the major channels for local residents to relieve their pressure and seek professional support, according to officials from the Shanghai Mental Health Center, which runs the hotline.

The line also plays an important role in protecting and enhancing minors' mental health and works like a bridge between minors and professionals, as one-fourth of the calls are related to minors.

So far, the hotline has recruited more than 400 medical professionals and teachers and volunteers with physical consultancy certificate to answer the calls day and night.

Expatriates can also call the hotline for help, officials from the center said.

Calls to mental health hotline surge amid pandemic resurgence
Ti Gong

Pianist Kong Xiangdong (second from left), Dr Xie Bin from the Shanghai Mental Health Center (third from left), Dr Wu Jiong from the Shanghai Cancer Center (third from right) and actor Hu Ge (second from right) are chosen as the city's health promotion ambassadors on Thursday.

The Shanghai Health Commission said that the city has established an emergency psychological aid and crisis intervention system through the 962525 hotline along with professional medical facilities and a community-based follow-up visit and patient management network for mental disease prevention and control.

In addition, public education is also important to arouse people's awareness in physical and psychological health.

In this regard, Shanghai Hospital Development Center organized 36 leading hospitals to launch a weeklong health education campaign through livestreaming, short videos, cloud hospital visits and lectures to promote health knowledge.

During the opening ceremony of the campaign on Thursday, mental health and cancer prevention and control were chosen as two major topics for public education. Medical experts in the two fields, as well as actor Hu Ge and pianist Kong Xiangdong were selected as health promotion ambassadors.

A topic will be chosen for each day of the weeklong event, with leading experts participating via livestreaming. Locals will also be invited to visit operation rooms and hospitals to have a better understanding about health service.

In addition, hospital officials and medical experts will have close contact with the public and patients to learn about their requests and demands.

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