Mrs. Zhou provides mental and psychological counseling for woman in rural areas.
It has been 10 years since the implementation of free psychological counseling services in rural areas. Although it seems I have achieved something when looking back, I do not think that the psychological problems in rural areas have been solved. I am the first one to do the psychological health education in rural areas, but the feelings I have experienced are beyond count. With more than a thousand vivid cases and ten thousand group trainings, benefited villagers’ life standard as well as physical and mental health has been greatly improved, which in return benefited me. My comprehensive quality and professional ability have been improved compared with the beginning. I like a dancer in the red shoes and cannot stop on the stage.
Psychology and physiology are 2 aspects of the health, but most of people do not understand what psychological health is and treat mental problem as physical problem. They seek treatment everywhere which not only increases their economic spending but triggers family conflicts, and even endangers the social peace. The morbid behaviors can be upgraded to moral and legal levels.
With the fast development of the society, the importance of mental health becomes significant. Issues such as marriage and family, life pressure, interpersonal relationship, parenting, diseases, etc. are agitating the ordinary people living in this area. By individual counseling, group training, and internet counseling, I provided individual help, hoping they can come out of their inside confusions and be re-involved in normal life and work. All are the force to drive me going forward.
On business trips, I met the street children and rural woman who was looking for her ran-away child. I met depressed patients who suffered from not being understood and tried suicides in the village. I also met the online clients who suffered from their marriage and work. I often received e-mails calling for help from people suffering from mental illness but could not afford to the treatment costs.
Such stories almost happen every day around me. There are too many people and villagers need attention for their psychological health in China, but it is still a weakness in China at the moment.
In recent years, apart from the problems as marriage and family, interpersonal relationship, economic pressure and diseases, new problems come out which puzzle more people.
1) Child Education. Most of clients come from grass roots with lower education. They have less information and cannot understand their weakness and deviation in their own education methods, so they only focus on children’s grades instead of their ability and quality. Parents also spoil their children and compare them with the other children, so they tend to rebel, be weary of studying, skip classes, drop out of school and so on, which in return damage their relationship with their children and caused inharmonious families.
2) Left-behind children in rural areas. To care about the psychological health of the left-behind children becomes urgent. Most of them are loneliness, self-contemptuous, shortage of love and communication. I saw a dirty child in the village of Sichuan, who followed several women and called them mum. I was told that her parents had gone to the city for work after she was born. She was left to be cared by her grandfather, and did not have education and care that a girl of her age should have. There was a 13-year-girl whose mother had left her to her grandmother. She hated her mother so much that she never spoke to her. She did not have any basic knowledge on the physiological development. When she came to the first menstruation, she thought she would die and was terribly scared. Too many of them are lack of mother’s love. They have problems as internet addiction, blow money, weary of study and unsociable. I often felt helpless when facing such problems.
3) Left-behind elderly and women. The groups tend to have problems as loneliness, depression, illness, emotional imbroglio, etc. It is difficult but effective to solve such problems psychologically. For instance, the problem of left-behind women is a problem that is tough but needs psychological intervention, which requires us not only with love but professional skills.
4) Family violence. I think it is a problem of female education. It is necessary to help rural women to improve their comprehensive quality rather than teaching them self-esteem, independence or legal intervention after the violence happens. I participated in a research topic on domestic violence held by the Medicine School of Beijing University last year. The cases I presented interested many scholars and experts. They did exclusive interview for me, a self-taught expert from the grass-root. I think there will be a good result if to care about the domestic violence from the perspective of psychology.
5) A series of problems as conjugal relationship, family relationship, child’s education, etc. are triggered by puppy love, early marriage and early pregnancy among rural youth. Things have been done in an early age that not for marriage and childbearing would cause problems. Though many young people have given birth to children, their bodies are far from being developed and it’s not the right time for them to take parental responsibilities. They need to learn how to be good parents, keep marriage fresh, harmonious relationships between family members, etc.
6) The problem of losing the only child. Urban families have just one child. Losing their only child is not general, but very serious and dreadful. There are about one million of them in the urban areas of China. I felt they need psychological counseling and help urgently when I contacted with them. If I have more professional abilities, I would support them from the perspective of psychology.
Of course, I would pay attention to them from more perspectives, for it is about the harmony of the family and society as well as people’s health and living standard. The key point about my job is to dedicate love and professional ability with almost no economic return. Facing rural people with low education, poor information, low understanding ability and comprehension, it is even more difficult to implement psychological education among them.
Anyway, I made it through and made certain achievements and even gained acceptance by the society and people under the support and accompany of the public welfare power and people with loving hearts.
Having traveled to many places, people would ask me which school I belong to in psychology. I said I combined my years of practice, theories and skills learned with the local culture, customs and traditions, which derived my own style. My style comes from the grass roots and applies to them, so people accept it easily.
In the coming new year, with the care and support of TFish and Mr. Chao, I will keep on going forward and serve the people from the grass roots with my knowledge and loving heart.
Original article by Yonghong Zhou, translated by Maggie Li, and edited by Yanyan Zhang.
TFISH FUND BLOG
We update news and reports directly from the field written by our NGO partners daily.
PHOTOS & VIDEOS
IN THE NEWS