CHINA: CHINA PSYCHIATRIES
As a result of China's economic reforms, the old socialist system has crumbled and health care has become a rarity. Eighty percent of Chinese do not benefit from health insurance and if one is suffering from long term mental diseases like schizophrenia and depression they can become a financial burden to their families. Treatment in state-owned hospitals, which charge up to $500/per month (USD), is a luxury that most patients cannot afford. In a conformist country like China, mental patients are strongly stigmatized, which is another reason that many families rather prefer to "get rid" of their sick patients. These days, in cities like Beijing, the majority of patients end up in privately-run institutions, founded by nurses and retired psychiatrists. Although, well-intended, such places lack the financial and professional means to give adequate care to mental patients. Patients are treated by some nurses from the countryside who did a "crash course" in psychiatry treatment. Medicine is too expensive. There is no regular money flow so places have to move from one location to the next. There is a lack of knowledge about fundraising, and diseases are not treated properly because there are barley enough psychiatrists available. In Beijing, such places are referred to as "warehouses" where patients live for years, in some cases until the end of their lives.