/Which people are using mental health apps for therapy in China?

Which people are using mental health apps for therapy in China?

By Hailan Jia

A survey by a prominent mental health app in China is revealing in what it shows about mental health treatment in China. The app, Jiandan Xinli, anonymously surveyed a sample of 5000 users, and released the results in a landmark report.

Over 100,000 people in China have used the app, also known as ‘Simple Psychology’, for counseling and therapy services.

The main users of Jiandan Xinli tend to be highly educated people, with high income, with an age in the range of 25 to 35. People who are living and working in major cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, and Guangzhou, as well as overseas, are more numerous: such people have both more open access to basic mental health knowledge and resources. They also are more likely to have an attitude that is open to using them.

Everyone has problems

No matter if you are single or in a relationship, a man or a woman, no matter what age you are: attacks of depression and anxiety are the same phenomenon. They make you doubt your confidence and self worth.

Problems might appear in very different areas in life, related to marriage, work and career, in family issues, addictions, and so on. Those are so called “developing issues”, and the majority of people will have to cope with some of them at some stage in their life. Problems in those areas can have a drastic influence on one’s quality of life and happiness.

In a part of the survey asking respondents on their motivations, 58.09% of the clients said that they wanted to spend the time to understand themselves, and understand the reasons and the causes of their issues. By looking back at the causes of their issues, emotions, and behaviors, working together with a therapist, their patterns of behaviors and thoughts can be better understood, improved and further corrected.

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More women than men

But why are the clients mostly women? Of the respondents in the Jiandan Xinli report, 74% were women.

The same survey shows that 46.2% of the interviewees believe that ‘mental vulnerability’ determines if someone has mental health issues, and 26% of the interviewees think you only need mental counseling when you are seriously mentally ill or abnormal. 19.8% of the interviewees consider going for counseling therapy as a sign of weakness.

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Misunderstandings and stereotypes

“Only vulnerable people have mental health issues.”
“Only very serious mental issues need treatment.”
“Looking for a therapy is a sign for weakness.”

In mainstream Chinese patriarchal society, men are expected to be independent and strong, taking more responsibilities, and not showing weakness.

However, there is an attitude of denial held by many Chinese males towards counseling and therapy, an attitude which leads to many men neglecting their own mental health. Because of this, the male population often faces a larger mental health risk.

The correct understanding to mental counseling and therapy is to know that there are many situations that can lead to mental health issues, and that they are very common. To use a metaphor, mental health issues are like the flu to your mind: instead of coughing and getting a prescription from a doctor, a person can suffer in their mind, and need to solve it with some sort of real medical treatment.

The truly brave are those who choose to give up their old bad habits, be open to seeing the truth, and make themselves open to starting a counseling relationship with a complete stranger.

High income and education

An estimated 79% of the clients reported having a bachelor degree or above. On average, each person spends RMB 4631.15. But why are well educated young people, aged from 25-35, using the therapy in larger numbers?

Knowledge of psychology and its value is more widespread in universities. People with a higher education have the privilege to understand the basic facts about mental health, and are more willing to use professional help. Additionally, the price of such services tends to be set at a threshold that is only suitable for those who are financially comfortable.

(All images are from Pinterest.com)