Nearly 10 percent of the Vietnamese population, or nine million people, suffer from mental disorders which come in different forms, with symptoms including anxiety, insomnia and emotional and behavioural disorders.

The Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs raised the statistic at a conference in Hanoi on June 3, attended by experts from the US, partially attributing the trend to the pressures of the open-door economy and the rapid growth of technology in Vietnam.

The conference provided an opportunity for Vietnamese delegates to get updated on international experience in mental health care and social welfare models for taking care of mentally ill patients.

There are about 26 centres across the country rehabilitating over 10,000 patients with serious mental disorders. These clinics have been gradually improving the infrastructure and enhancing the quality of services.

However, they are encountering a number of difficulties such as insufficient medicine, imperfect policies, low pay for staff and limited public awareness of mental health.

Participants suggested the ministry build a national strategic framework in the field to provide better services for the patients.

They said the State should have a key role to play in expanding the social welfare network, which needs the participations of organisations, businesses and local people.-VNA