Feeling Depressed and Suicidal in China? There’s an App For That

Charles Liu , January 24, 2015 3:56pm (updated)

smart phone appIf you are clinically depressed in China, but don’t have access to a psychologist, you’re in luck! An app is being developed to prevent suicide and help those suffering from clinical depression, reports iFeng.

By monitoring the heart and brain, users of the app will be able to diagnose their own psychological well-being, and obtain treatment using online resources. Users can also make various inquires online and schedule appointments with a psychologist via the internet.

The project is a collaboration between the Beijing Huilongguan Hospital and the Beijing Psychological Crisis Research and Intervention Center.

The need for the app was presented very differently in various media outlets. Sina highlighted the recently publicized suicides of US actor, Robin Williams, and Chinese translator, Sun Chongdan. iFeng quoted a number of statistics, specifically that suicide was a top ten cause of death in China that claimed about 131,000 lives a year, particularly the elderly.

WSJ China Real Time noted the announcement of the app followed a recent spate of officials committing suicide in a year of frequent corruption investigations. More than three dozen officials, or employees, have committed suicide since early 2013, reported Caixin.

Although public stigma associated with mental illness may be waning in China, the public will have to wait between three and five years before the app is released. There is no word whether the app will be compatible with the next generation of the Apple iPhone.

In the meantime, the Chinese public will have to make do with the few psychologists it currently has. According to the World Health Organization’s Mental Health Atlas, China had 1.53 psychiatrists and 0.18 psychologists per 100,000 people in 2011.

[h/t WSJ China Real Time]

Photo: jyrb

Charles Liu

The Nanfang's Senior Editor