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China initiates psychological care program for elderly

Updated: Jun 10,2019 2:50 PM     Xinhua

BEIJING — China has decided to carry out a psychological care program for the elderly in 1,600 urban communities and 320 rural villages, an official with the National Health Commission (NHC) announced on June 10.

The program provides mental health services to the elderly through training sessions, mental health assessments, necessary interventions and referrals, said Wang Haidong, director of NHC’s Department of Ageing and Health, at a news conference.

The program is expected to help understand the elderly’s mental health status and needs, improve primary-level staff’s skills to identify common psychological problems at an early stage and enhance mental health awareness among senior citizens, Wang said.

China’s elderly healthcare system faces severe challenges due to its fast-growing elderly population. At the end of 2018, China had a population of 249 million aged 60 or above, making up 17.9 percent of the total population.