Thursday, Dec. 09, 2010

China's Epidemic of School Knifings

In a harrowing span of eight weeks, China saw six different attacks on schoolchildren that left at least 17 dead. There were no direct links between the attacks in April and May, but the cases had similarities. The assaults were all carried out by middle-aged men who acted alone, and at least three of the attackers had known mental-health problems. The number of attacks in such close succession suggested that some of the assailants may have been copycats. Yet the lack of access to mental health care may be the most important factor. A study of four Chinese provinces found that among individuals with a diagnosable mental illness, just 5% had seen a mental-health professional.