The problems are stigma, no easy way to diagnose mental disorders and a severe shortage of mental health workers in China. That’s why a team of researchers from UCI and Beijing Normal University have joined forces to develop new approaches to mental health screening and interventions.

With a grant of nearly $600,000 from the Cyrus Tang Foundation, the researchers have commenced working on the collaborative project. They aim to create a synergy among diverse experts who are specialized in a new framework of psychopathology, cultural and historical factors in mental health, advanced psychological assessment and modeling, digital mental health, and public health. 

They are refining screening tools and developing prototypes of interventions for the most common mental problems – depression and anxiety.

“Our team has extensive existing data to allow us to conduct preliminary work during the pilot phase and facilitate new data collection,” the researchers note. “Existing long-term collaborations between some team members provide a solid foundation for the project and ensure the sustainability of the project. The deliverables will include new screening/assessment tools, protocols of targeted interventions, community involvement and giving back, and the training of the next generation of researchers and practitioners.”

The UCI team members are: Emily Baum, associate professor of history; Chuansheng Chen, distinguished professor of psychological science; Michael Lee, professor of cognitive sciences; Elizabeth A. Martin, associate professor of psychological science; Stephen Schueller, associate professor of psychological science and informatics; Jun Wu, professor of environmental and occupational health; and Zhaoxia Yu, professor of statistics. The BNU team members are: faculty members Yufang Bian, Xin Li, Liang Luo, Ping Ren, Jun Wang, Zhanjun Zhang, Li Yao and Xiaojie Zhao.

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