The presence of mothers in a home is very important to children. (Photo : Reuters)
A third or 34 percent of 61 million children left behind by parents working far from home have shown suicidal tendencies, according to On the Road to School, a child care NGO. On the Road to School cited data from sources, mostly the Institute of Psychology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
"Nearly 22 percent of minors in China are left-behind children. More than 70 percent of them have psychological problems at different levels," the NGO said.
Often left behind by their parents who choose to work in cities far from home, these minors are left living with family relatives, or sometimes, by themselves.
The organization conducted a separate survey from Oct. to Dec. 2014 in rural areas in six provinces to determine what influences the psychological status of children left behind. Results show that nearly 10 million children develop increasing feelings of annoyance regarding their living conditions if they don't see their parents every three months.
The report also revealed that failure to receive phone calls from their parents in a year contributes to depression in 2.6 million children. Parents should call their children once or twice a week, the study suggested.
Meanwhile, children living in northwestern areas are more prone to psychological risks than those living in central and southwestern China. The survey also showed that girls need more psychological care than their male counterparts.
"There is no panacea to solve all problems related to left-behind children, but we found that reading, studying, and proper entertainment could effectively improve their self-esteem and mental health," said Li Yifei, author of the report and an education professor at Beijing Normal University.
"The presence of the mother at home is also very important," Li added.
Discussions about left-behind children's living conditions were spurred once again by a recent accident in Bijie, Guizhou Province, where four children died at home after drinking a bottle of pesticide.