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Sabbadini, A. (1990). Mental health in China: A personal account. Free Associations, 1U(20):181-197.

(1990). Free Associations, 1U(20):181-197

Mental health in China: A personal account

Andrea Sabbadini

I was in the People's Republic of China between 23 December 1988 and 7 January 1989, as a member of a delegation of about forty mental health professionals from throughout Western Europe, sponsored by the Chinese Medical Association. We were the first international group of psychoanalysts ever to go to China; we went to Beijing, Nanjing and Shanghai (as well as Hong Kong), where we had plenty of opportunities to visit mental institutions, to attend organized and formal meetings, to present papers and, most important of all, to meet our Chinese colleagues for informal discussions.

This presentation is to a large extent based on my observations in the course of that most exciting and stimulating journey. Some ideas and data also derive from my readings about mental health in the People's Republic of China, in particular two articles by Parry-Jones (1986) and Tung (1984) and a book edited by Tseng and Wu (1985).

The Chinese approach to mental illness is pragmatic and situational.

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