Stress has driven many Ho Chi Minh City students to anxiety and beyond, a new study has found.
Nguyen Thi My Chi, a community health graduate student at the Ho Chi Minh City Medicine University found that more than 65 percent of the city high school students suffer from mental disorders during exam season.
These disorders included depression, sleep disorders, anxiety disorders (like panic and phobias).
Her study was conducted on 500 students from tenth to 12th grades, from both gifted and normal schools, Tuoi Tre report.
Chi found personal factors played a role in the way the symptoms manifested themselves, but 73.1 percent of the respondents reported suffering mental disorders due to stringent study programs; 71.3 blamed their disorders on their relationships with teachers, and 69.2 percent identified exam preparations as the cause of their problems.
“Students these days have few chances to relax and be entertained. They’re too busy going to extra classes and doing homework.
“Those pressures make them uncomfortable, stressed, depressed,” Chi said.
Because Vietnamese people view study as the way out of poverty, Chi said parents and schools put “very strong pressure” on their children.
Disorders, like anxiety, occur more frequently among students who perform poorly.
Discipline didn't have much of an affect on student psychology, the study found. Roughly the same percentage of disciplined and undisciplined students reported mental anguish.
Chi submitted the results as her graduate thesis last July. It received excellent marks and was submitted to the university’s science conference early this year.
Dr Nguyen Duy Phong, deputy head of the school’s community health department and chairman of her graduation council, Chi's the study offers evidence that existing study programs are affecting student psychology. As such, he said, it serves as a good foundation for wider and deeper research.
Huynh Ho Ngoc Quynh, a community health lecturer at the university, said mental disorders are hard to notice in the beginning, but if ignored, they can develop into severe mental illness like schizophrenia.
A recent World Health Organization study said mental illness could surpass HIV/AIDS, heart disease and infectious disease in terms of burdens to humanity.
Quynh said schools and education authorities have been talking about reforms and cutting student workloads but no attempts have proven actually effective.
Parents need to respect their childrens' efforts enough to avoid pushing them further, she said.