Pop Singer Coco Lee’s Tragic Death Raises Mental Health Awareness in China.

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The unexpected death of pop singer Coco Lee has sent shock waves throughout the Chinese-speaking world and ignited discussions surrounding mental health on various social media platforms in China. According to a Facebook post by her older sisters Carol and Nancy, Lee passed away after being in a coma since her suicide attempt over the weekend. She was 48 years old, and her family disclosed that she had been battling depression in recent years.

Lee, a well-known figure in China and a Hong Kong-born American singer, was renowned for her vibrant energy and radiant smile on stage. The news of her death late at night on Wednesday left many in disbelief. Social media users expressed their grief, with one comment on the Twitter-like platform Weibo stating, “I can’t believe this. She was always the sunshine girl who loved to sing, dance, and smile.”

As tributes poured in, many discussions focused on the mental health issues that Lee’s family had revealed. Hashtags such as “how close depression is near you” and “symptoms of depression” began trending on various online platforms. State media outlets, including CCTV, People’s Daily, and China Daily, also published content to raise awareness about depression and mental illness.

The tragic event highlights a growing concern in China, where the number of people facing mental health issues is rapidly increasing, while the medical infrastructure is still catching up. Mental illness, including depression, has long carried a stigma in Chinese society. The term for mental illness, “jingshen bing,” sounds similar to a derogatory term for a mad person, reinforcing negative perceptions and misconceptions about individuals with mental health conditions.

According to Ke Ren, the founder of the social media account “Depression Research Institute,” many Chinese patients remain underdiagnosed. Misunderstandings prevail, with cases often dismissed as isolated incidents triggered by specific events, such as academic or professional setbacks. However, in recent years, as China’s economy has advanced rapidly, societal pressures have intensified, leading to an increased focus on mental health.

Dr. Jia Miao, assistant professor of sociology at Shanghai New York University, explains that as more people have experienced mental health issues, they have become more willing to share their struggles with friends, family, and seek professional help. However, there is still a long way to go in terms of diagnosing and treating mental health illnesses in China. The country faces a shortage of qualified mental health professionals, with only 64,000 psychiatrists reported at the end of 2021.

The Chinese government has implemented measures to address mental health concerns, such as mandating mental health consultants in schools and universities and designating individuals in community units to oversee the mental well-being of the elderly. However, there is a need for further progress in building a comprehensive mental health infrastructure to meet the growing demand. As discussions surrounding mental health continue to gain momentum in China, there is hope that increased awareness and support will lead to better resources and care for those struggling with mental health issues.

SOURCE: Ref Image from NNN

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