Academic pressure hindering mental health
VietNamNet Bridge – Emotional and psychotic disorders in Vietnamese children are increasing at an alarming rate, doctors have warned.
A medical worker examines brain waves of a student at Ha Noi’s Bach Mai Hospital. Doctors say emotional and psychotic disorders in Vietnamese children are increasing at an alarming rate. – Photo: VNA/VNS
Recent research by psychiatrists in five schools in Ha Noi shows that 5 per cent of children are at risk of emotional disorders. Two per cent need treatment at medical facilities.
Tien Phong (Vanguard) newspaper on Monday reported that a 16 year-old student from Bac Giang Province is currently being treated at Bach Mai Hospital due to a mental disorder.
The teen was a consistently good student for many years at a high quality provincial school.
In the last two years, his family found him unwilling to study or talk with others. He often reported headaches and was quick to get angry. In addition, he began to cry when his parents encouraged him to study.
As a result, his grades have declined.
His parents also said that he was eating less and losing weight. He suffered nightmares and violent mood swings.
According to Dr Nguyen Van Dung, deputy director of Bach Mai Hospital’s Mental Health Institute, most children’s physical and mental development are not yet fully completed. Therefore, their emotions are easily affected, causing stress.
In addition, high parental expectations on children’s learning create high pressure for children.
Meanwhile, Phan Quynh Lien, a mother of a 14-year-old student in Thanh Xuan District, said that her son spent so much time studying and worrying about examinations that he was often exhausted.
On Sundays, he slept most of the day and did not want to do anything, especially study, Lien said.
“Sometimes, I encouraged him to study but he got angry. He said: ‘Don’t bother me, I have a headache,’” the mother said.
The Mental Health Institute has reported that many cases of emotional disorders are caused by academic pressure.
Near exams, many students study all day and don’t have enough time to rest, sleeping only 2-3 hours a night. They even use coffee and cigarettes to overcome sleepiness while ignoring nutrition.
Dr Dung said that in recent years, the number of students suffering emotional disorders due to academic pressure increased, especially near the exam season. The children reported tiredness, nervousness, stress, exhaustion and headaches, dizziness or stomach aches.
"Many students even leave home and school when they are unable to cope with the surplus of pressure and lack of family support. Some cases suffer serious emotional disorders and consider suicide," he said.
According to Dung, the first thing to treat these patients is to help them relieve pressure and build a lifestyle with reasonable diet and rest. In addition, children should be taught life skills to deal with stress.
Parents must also recognise their children’s abilities and strengths to encourage them to learn, avoiding excessive pressure and expectations.
Doctors say emotional disturbances due to exam pressures can be completely cured if detected early. When parents find out that their child is struggling, they should take them to the psychiatrist for advice, counseling and treatment.