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Mental woes haunt funeral workers, says new report

Updated: 2015-04-03 07:43:36

( China Daily )

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Employees of a funeral home hold cremation caskets at a funeral in Henan in March. Niu Yuan / China Daily

People who work in the funeral industry are among the most psychologically distressed groups in China, with close to half of all employees polled suffering from minor to severe mental problems, a report has found.

The report, authored by the 101 Institute of the Ministry of Civil Affairs, a government think tank that specializes in research into funeral affairs, found that only 53 percent of employees in the funeral sector are in a healthy state of mind, with another 21.3 percent of employees in the sector having severe psychological problems.

"The employees are frequently working in distressful situations, including the death and loss of family members and spend long periods exposed to sentiments of sadness and sorrow. That has resulted in the emotional exhaustion of some employees," says the report.

The report was released before Qingming Festival, also known as Tomb Sweeping Day, an occasion mostly noted for its connection with Chinese ancestral veneration and the tending of family graves. Researchers from the institute published the findings after an analysis of 338 questionnaires from funeral homes and service institutions in 10 provinces.

Liu Jianfeng, a workshop director of a funeral home in Baoding, Hebei province, said he is still too embarrassed to say that he works at a funeral home when he meets people, even after more than 20 years in the industry.

"Prejudice in society is everywhere. We cannot even find someone to repair the equipment at our workshop when it is broken, despite the good money we offer," he says.

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