40% of people do not think the future will be better 四成國人認為明天不會更好

Mon, Dec 10, 2012 - Page 11

An increasing amount of research is showing that with unemployment, poor working conditions, and heavy financial burdens affecting so many people, the nation is experiencing an emotional crisis on par with the financial crisis. The Mental Health Foundation released the results of its national mental health index survey on Tuesday last week. The survey shows that the nation is failing in the areas of mental and physical health and feelings of personal worth, and more than 40 percent of the respondents said they “do not believe the future will be better.”

Tom Yang, chief psychiatrist at Cardinal Tien Hospital’s department of psychiatry and mental health, says that mental and physical health are intimately connected, and says not to assume that getting plenty of sleep is enough to stay healthy mentally and physically. Hu Hai-guo, president of the foundation which ran the study, says that from 2004 to 2012 as many as 2.18 million people were feeling unhappy, but says that, “People should not expect someone like President Ma Ying-jeou to lead everyone out of Egypt.” Hu hopes that people can learn how to become strong enough mentally to get through all of their emotional valleys.

The foundation’s grading system evaluated four categories in all, including family health, mental and physical health, personal worth and the ability to control one’s life. The average adult scored 81.6 points out of 100 on mental health, a borderline pass score (80 out of 100 points) and dangerously close to the low average score seen during the financial crisis of 2008 (80.1 points).

While family health passed with an average individual score of 87.9 percent, mental and physical health as well as personal worth did not. More than 30 percent of respondents said they are dispirited, lack motivation, have poor memory, are anxious and nervous and do not sleep well, while around 30 percent also said they are dissatisfied with their achievements in life. The lowest score in the survey was the 43 percent who said they “do not think the future will be better.” The survey also found that an estimated three million people in Taiwan are suffering from low pyschological resilience, often doubting themselves, and being overly pessimistic, without knowing how to get help.

Yang says that people experiencing “social hopelessness” often feel frustrated and less motivated about life, causing some to seek unrealistic ways to feel happy, such as using drugs like ketamine. Some people, on the other hand, mistakenly think that all they need is plenty of sleep, and simply go to the doctor for sleeping pills and nothing else.

Yang says that if a person is overly stressed for an extended period of time, it can cause them to have excessively high cortisone levels, which can affect memory, lower your immunity, increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, and cause dyspepsia, or even mental breakdowns. He suggests making sure that you are able to do what he calls “the three cans and the four vents.” The “cans” include being able to sleep well, and exercise and laugh enough, while the “four vents” include being able to talk to someone about your problems, sing songs, write a happy diary entry and exercise whenever you are in a bad mood. These activities can help increase the amount of “happy hormones” released in the brain, including serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine and endorphin, Yang says.

(Liberty Times, Translated by Kyle Jeffcoat)

越來越多的研究調查證實,失業、勞動條件低落、經濟負擔沉重,全國人民正在經歷一場心靈海嘯。精神健康基金會上週二發表二0一二年精神健康指數調查報告,發現國人心身健康和個人價值都不及格,更有超過四成的人認為「明天不會更好」。

耕莘醫院心理衛生中心主任楊聰財提醒國人,心身健康環環相扣,勿以為搞定睡眠身心就健康。精神健康基金會董事長胡海國則表示,自二00四年到二0一二年,有高達兩百十八萬人覺得自己不幸福,「不要期待一個馬英九,就能帶大家出埃及。」希望社會大眾學習鍛鍊自己的心理韌性,才能度過低潮。

精神健康醫學會調查共整合家庭健康、心身健康、個人價值、生活掌握等四面向得分,發現國民整體精神得分只有百分之八十一點六,在及格邊緣(百分之八十及格),接近金融海嘯那年的谷底分數(八十點一分)。

除了家庭健康達百分之八十七點九,國人心身健康、個人價值都是不及格。三成以上受訪者覺得心情差、沒動力、記性差、焦慮緊張、睡不好,也有近三成受訪者對自己的成就不滿。此外,還有百分之四十三受訪者「不認為將來會更好」,是所有調查項目中得分最低。調查也發現,估計有三百萬人的心理韌性過低,時常對自我懷疑、悲觀、不知如何求助。

楊聰財表示,「社會無望感」,讓人常感到挫折,生活動力減退,導致有些人會去尋求不切實際的快樂,例如拉K吸毒。有些人則會誤以為搞定睡眠就好,到診間甚麼都不說,只要安眠藥。

楊聰財提醒,長期壓力大,會導致體內可體松過高,影響記憶、降低免疫、增加心血管疾病、腸胃不適,甚至過勞崩潰。建議每天檢視自己有沒有「三好、四發」,三好就是能睡、能動、能笑;心情不好則有四種抒發方式,例如找人訴說、唱歌、寫快樂日記、運動。這些有助增加腦內的「快樂荷爾蒙」,像是血清素、多巴胺、新腎上腺素、腦內啡等。

(自由時報記者邱宜君)