More Blue Days Than Blue Sky Days

I hope this finds everyone well and getting on with Q2. Many of you know that Facebook is blocked in China and instead we use something called Wechat. It allows people to connect, post photos, comment, voice call, video call and transfer money to each other. I know it to be monitored by the State but I’m not communicating anything noteworthy anyway. Luckily for me, the majority of my Wechat contacts use it as a line of communication, not a line of showing me how many selfies they can take in a day. Phew!

The reason why I mention Wechat is that I subscribe to various newsfeeds and the stories that come through have been quite depressing lately. I’ve become much more aware of mental health since I started my second volunteering job; manning the phones on a crisis line. (Lifeline Shanghai serves the non-Chinese speaking community, is anonymous and runs everyday from 10am to 10pm)

The Chinese have their own crisis helpline but I don’t think people know about it and also that there is still the negative stigma attached to talking about your mental health. Here is some of the upbeat news from the past week:

  • Man seen walking down the street holding a plastic bag that contained the decapitated head of his wife, then tosses it in the trash. Man turns himself in to the police the next day. Says they had an argument.
  • Pregnant woman deliberately trips a child in a restaurant. Child goes flying to the floor. Woman apologises the next day. Receives full wrath of netizens questioning her ability to be a mother.
  • Enraged man seen beating a 10 year old child on a bus. Slamming the child to the bus floor and stomping on his head. Man was found by police the next day. Man admitted he was having a bad day.
  • 28 year old man kills 7 kids and injures 19 as revenge for being bullied a decade ago. The government pinned the blame on those with mental health problems looking for easy targets.

When you think about it, depression and anxiety are very common modern ailments. It can affect anyone, anywhere. When you break your arm, you go to the doctor but when your mental health is broken, many choose to remain silent. Do the above instances give you hints to the state of perpetrators’ mental health? Will we see more of such similar behaviour in the future with the growing urban populations and work/life stresses? I really hope not.

A recent news article on CNN highlighted this on going issue and so I wanted to share to bring about more awareness;