Below are three letters from students of St Paul American School Hanoi to Hanoitimes:
I am writing to express my opinion on the article, "Hanoi pays attention to role of counselling in schools", published on December 6, 2016. First of all, I would like you to encourage you to write more articles about mental health like this engaging article. I agree with the statement “It is necessary to have a place to help students deal with psychological problems, and there are so many social problems entering the school”. This is true at my school as well.
For me, as a student, I usually get stressed due to a lot of social problems and homework. In other words, there are many factors that worsen students’ mental health but most people's attention is solely focused on physical health. In Hanoi, there are many local and international students who are struggling from social problems. I politely encourage you to write more articles about mental health in Hanoi which would raise awareness about this problem. In my opinion, people do not take their mental health seriously. However, it is equally as important as physical health.
Junior at St Paul American School Hanoi
I am writing to express my opinion on the article, “Hanoi pays attention to role of counseling in schools”, published on December 6, 2016. I think that the article does an excellent job in raising awareness concerning the mental health of students in schools. I think that having a counselor in schools drastically reduces the anxiety of students and can eventually help them improve academically. In a counseling room, students can express what is making them uncomfortable as well as troubles at school or at home. Counselors try to find ways to help students. This could also improve students’ confidence due to them opening up to the counselor, which would help students in the long run. However, there are very few articles about mental health on the Hanoitimes website. I think that those kind of articles should be posted more often to raise awareness in our community, especially for people on the school board and in government.. Mental Health has always been a touchy subject that everyone avoids discussing in Hanoi.
However, I’m positive that exposure to these types of articles would affect people’s mindset and create a more open atmosphere in which people with mental health issues feel comfortable seeking help from professionals. In my opinion, mental health stigma is an important issue that we have to deal with right now. Like I stated previously, mental illness is something that is looked down upon in Hanoi. Thus, people may just keep their problems to themselves and likely eventually worsen. Mental illnesses like depression and anxiety are serious, although ignored, problems in our culture.
Therefore, publishing more articles about mental health can raise awareness and encourage people with mental illness to seek help if needed. I would love to read more of your articles related to mental health since it is such an important and urgent issue we are currently facing.
Junior at St Paul American School Hanoi
I am writing to express my opinion on the article, "Hanoi pays attention to role of counseling in schools", published on December 6, 2016.
As the lively capital city of a developing nation, Hanoi needs to be more aware of its mental health and media, especially since intercommunal papers such as the Hanoitimes can become the momentum for the city’s stride toward greater awareness regarding mental health. Regrettably, while articles such as “Hanoi pays attention to role of counseling in schools” have contributed to mental health awareness, there is simply not enough news coverage concerning mental health. Thus, I entreat the editor of the Hanoi Times to increase the proportion of mental health coverage in the Health & Education section of the website.
Vietnam has enjoyed remarkable growth in the past few decades. According to the World Bank, Vietnam’s GDP per capita has averaged 6.4% in the 2000s, and with more than 40% of its 90 million people below the age of 25, the country is projected to grow even more in the coming decades to soon join the ranks of developed countries. Alas, many of today’s developed nations are fraught with mental health issues within their population. One in five Americans suffer from a “mental health situation”. Suicide rates in South Korea are skyrocketing with about 36 people per 100,000 people committing suicide every year. 19% of adults in the UK have been diagnosed with depression once in their lives. If awareness about mental health is not spread, and stigma and structural problems are left unaddressed, this might become Vietnam’s fate.
A nation’s first and foremost duty is to protect its people’s security and health which includes mental health. However, compared to the country’s economic growth, the mental health awareness in Vietnam has seen meager growth. The World Health Organization highlights this issue by writing that Vietnam has a deficient mental health information system. It also points to the dearth of mental health services in the community and the absence of a family or consumer association concerning mental health. Nonetheless, these problems within the mental health care system in Vietnam can be cured. If the media would increase its output of beneficial information on mental health and stress the importance of this issue, this effort could steer Vietnam away from the mental crisis that many developed countries face.
Thus, I sincerely beseech the editor of the Hanoitimes to increase the proportion of mental health coverage in the Health & Education section of the website.
Senior at St Paul American School Hanoi