The Department of Health (DOH) yesterday announced plans to set up a bureau dedicated to the improvement of mental health services and prevention of drug abuse.
The department's announcement came in the wake of a petition by dozens of civic groups and non-governmental organizations to address these two problems made worse by the economic downturn.
The groups, led by representatives from the John Tung Foundation, met DOH Minister Yeh Ching-chuan (葉金川) yesterday for talks on providing mental health assistance, especially to those affected by the rising unemployment, forced leave, pay cuts and other financial troubles.
The Teacher Chang Foundation, which provides counseling and psychological assessment services to troubled youth, said it received about 20 percent to 30 percent more phone calls during this year's Lunar New Year holiday from people who have lost their work or were having difficulty find a job.
“Studies conducted in other countries show that for every 1 percent increase in unemployment, the suicide rate increases by 4 to 5 percent,” said Chang Te-chung (張德聰), chairman of the Teacher Chang Foundation.
Chang said that because of cultural factors such as having stronger family ties, a 1 percent increase in unemployment in Taiwan results in a 2 percent to 3 percent increase in the suicide rate.
“Cases of domestic violence, school drop-outs and drug abuse would also increase,” he said.
“One private university said that after the holiday, the student body lost about six classes [about 240 students],” he said. “Many students dropped out because they could not afford the tuition.”
“Many people have fallen into depression because of financial troubles ... Although the government has provided material assistance, we have yet to see the government focus on mental problems,” said Milton Shieh (謝孟雄), chairman of the John Tung Foundation.
In response, Yeh unveiled the department's ongoing plans to establish a bureau dedicated to improving the nation's mental health.
About 18 people from the Bureau of Medical Affairs, the Bureau of Health Promotion, DOH hospitals, the Bureau of Controlled Drugs, the Centers for Disease Control and the Bureau of National Health Insurance will form the new bureau, which has yet to be officially named, he said.
The DOH will ask the Executive Yuan for a special budget of NT$150 million (US$5 million) that will be mainly used in hiring more social workers and psychiatrists, enhancing local healthcare centers, increasing the number of mental health institutions and improving suicide prevention assistance, Yeh said.
The head of the bureau will be Happy Tan (陳快樂), currently superintendent of Taoyuan Mental Hospital.
UNDER INVESTIGATION: Huang’s body was found just outside the bathroom and showed no signs of a struggle, and no alcohol or drugs were found Singer and actor Alien Huang (黃鴻升) was found dead at his home in Taipei’s Beitou District (北投) yesterday. He was 36. Huang was also known by the nickname Xiao Gui (“little ghost”). His body was found when his father went to check on him after being unable to reach him by telephone, and called emergency services to the house at 11am, the Taipei City Police Department said. Huang’s body, which was discovered just outside the bathroom, showed no signs of a physical struggle, and he appeared to have been dead for some time, police said, adding that no drugs or alcohol were
Scooter riders should regularly clean their helmets, especially in summer, to prevent dirt and sweat from accumulating and causing scalp problems, such as hair loss and permanent baldness, a dermatologist has warned. Poor hygiene practices by helmet wearers often lead to scalp problems, such as bacterial folliculitis, tinea capitis and seborrheic dermatitis, Lu Pei-hsuan (呂佩璇) at Chang Gung Memorial Hospital said on Aug 31. The first step to maintain good scalp care is proper hair washing, as shampoo residues can easily cause dandruff and itchy scalps, while improper scratching will cause inflammation, Lu said. The best way to wash your hair is to
INTIMIDATION: Chinese military maneuvers have mostly led to heightened support for Taiwan’s defense forces, while China appears poised to continue its campaign China’s incessant military activities in and near the Taiwan Strait over the past several months are “greater in meaning than in substance,” and are aimed at polarizing Taiwanese society, a researcher said in a report published on Friday. China has attempted to intimidate Taiwan through military threats, while at the same time calling on Taiwanese and US officials to practice restraint, which is aimed at causing a rift between those who prefer resistance against China and those who prefer peace, said Lee Kuan-cheng (李冠成), a researcher at the Institute for National Defense and Security Research. “China’s goal is to obscure public awareness
CONFIRMED IN PHILIPPINES: The CECC would conduct contact tracing for the migrant workers to determine if they had come into contact with elderly people or children Six Filipinos tested positive for COVID-19 upon returning home from Taiwan, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday as it reported a case of imported COVID-19 infection, bringing the number of confirmed cases in Taiwan to 500. Philippine authorities reported four of the cases through the National IHR Focal Point, while the other two were reported by the company that they had worked for in Taiwan. The six — five women and one man — are aged from their 20s to 40s, and worked as in-home care workers, domestic workers, factory workers and sailors in Taiwan, said Minister of Health and