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Mental Health Support for Expats in China

While healthcare is one of the main concerns that foreigners have when traveling or moving to China, mental health is usually given less thought. Expats in China used to go to Hong Kong or return to their home country to get treatment for their mental health issues. 

But these days, you can access high-quality healthcare facilities across China without going back home. In this Pacific Prime article, we’ll cover the topic of mental health, from the current mental health issues to the support available for expats in China.

Mental Health Issues in China

China’s psychiatrist-to-patient ratio remains low despite millions of people suffering from mental illnesses. Whether you’re seeking counseling or treatment, looking for mental health support in China can be overwhelming. It is important for expats to seek support as early as possible if needed.

Expats don’t have the same support as they used to in their home countries. Expats in China must go through a variety of changes ranging from work conditions and lifestyle to relationships and family life, which can result in emotional and psychological issues.

What’s more, it could be harder for expats to live in China than in other countries in Asia due to reasons like the country’s diverse cultural background and social norms. The work environment, including office culture, management style, and workload can add further pressure.

After knowing all these, it’s no surprise that life in China can get overwhelming. Consequently, expats and their families can develop and suffer from issues such as:

  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Panic disorder
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Eating disorder
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Alcohol/drug abuse
  • Relationship/marriage/family issues

While some of these issues can get better with some socializing and time with friends and loved ones, professional help is imperative when it comes to dealing with mental health problems.

Mental Health Services for Expats in China

From visiting a local public hospital to looking for therapists’ assistance, there are a lot of ways you can seek suitable guidance to address mental health issues.

Go to a Local Public Hospital

In addition, government-funded public hospitals are where you can find affordable mental health support in China. Expats who can speak Chinese and are simply looking to renew their prescription drugs will find it easy to do so in a public hospital. 

It’s recommended to go to a large public hospital in your town or city since they will have more doctors and medical staff than smaller clinics. Hospital pharmacies in China are typically well-stocked with imported medications and drugs, though they might cost a bit more than back home.

Visit a Private Hospital

If you’re living in a first or second-tier city then you’ll have access to at least one international healthcare facility. Even though they cost more, these upscale hospitals have English-speaking medical staff and doctors, along with expat psychologists and psychiatrists. Plus, they often have an around-the-clock hotline, making it easy to find out what kind of help you might need and make an appointment in advance.

Since the costs tend to be high in Chinese healthcare, it’s a good idea to check whether your private health insurance policy covers mental healthcare. Pre-existing conditions typically aren’t included as well, so it’s advisable to compare insurers if you’re looking to upgrade your policy to get more coverage.

Talk to a School Counselor

Many international schools and universities in China have a counselor who is there to assist students with school-related problems, mental health issues, and more. As a first step, these counselors can also guide them toward more comprehensive medical help. 

Look for a Therapist

There are many foreign mental health therapists in China. The easy way to find a reputable one is to look for professional associations. For example, many certified therapists who provide mental health services in Shanghai are part of the Shanghai International Mental Health Association (SIMHA).

If you or your loved ones are showing signs of poor mental health, it’s recommended to consult a professional soon. When you’re deciding on a therapist, look at their credentials to find a good personal match.

Note: Prices can vary and visits to independent mental health practitioners are not likely to be covered by your insurance policy. 

Whatever your reason for seeking mental health support, the important thing to do is take it one step at a time. Whether you need to make new friends, have weekly sessions with a therapist, or take prescriptions, creating a solid foundation is important to living a healthy life.

How Pacific Prime Can Help

If you’re looking for mental health support for you or your loved ones, you’ll want to be in good hands. However, mental healthcare can be costly, so you also want to ensure you can afford it. We compare health insurance in China to ensure you’re getting a plan for your requirements and budget.

Whether you’re looking for international health insurance or expat health insurance in China, we’re here to help. Contact us to receive impartial advice or a no-obligation quote today.

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Disclaimer: Pacific Prime solely represents, operates, and manages locally regulated insurance products and services in the territory of PR China. Any references to Pacific Prime Global Company or Group, the international services, insurance products, or otherwise stated written or verbally, is for introduction purposes about our overseas network only as each entity is fully independent.